A few years ago my daughter-in-law felt she should give me a copy of The ALCHEMIST. I was the more eager to read it since the author’s name was not unlike my own, Paulo Coelho.
Indeed I discovered his story was a fractal of my story, even as all our stories are fractals of the One True Story.
It told of a shepherd boy in a western island who left his more secure profession to become shepherd just as I had left medical practice to shepherd a community in Ireland. He then traveled abroad on a journey in search of a great treasure – just as we have traveled to America!
After many exotic adventures the boy arrived all the way back where he started, only to discover that the great treasure he has been searching for was in fact buried at the foot of the tree where he had slept as a shepherd boy.
“We HAVE this treasure….” Paul writes to the Corinthians…….no need to go to the ends of the earth searching for it….We already HAVE this treasure.
“Ah!” you say, “….. you mean “Christ in me”?
Well, yes and no.
The scripture actually says, “….Christ in YOU the hope of glory” So while I do need to discover more fully the Christ in me, this scripture points us not inward but outward – to the other. The context speaks of God’s glory then being revealed through Christ in US. (Col.1:24-27)
The greatest treasure in my backyard is called Hilary….or maybe more fully Christ in Hilary – my closest friend.
Thank you for this friend who lies – a side of me
A stake to make me die to what is fake in me.
A staff to make me true to what’s inside of me
To confirm and to offend
Until we both have been set free
Inside of Thee
Next to ‘love’, ‘friend’ must be the most cheapened word in our modern language.
Jesus said,”Greater love has no man than this than he lay down his life for his friends.” (Jn.15:12) At the end of his earthly ministry he only called twelve who had been with him day and night for three years his ‘friends’ (Jn, 15:13) Eleven of these twelve ended up expressing their friendship by dying for the one who had died for them.
Proverbs says that “A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov.17:17) True Friendship is a step beyond brotherhood, it knows, shows, grows ….and goes the distance. Time is given us to yield two fruits, wisdom and true friendship.
The photo above is very special to me.
The cushion describes the voyage of Saint Brendan. Like Brendan, Hilary and I left everything familiar to us in the natural to follow our friend Jesus to this new land. He used the story of the only man to be called God’s friend, Abraham, to guide us here. When we arrived and asked Him what we were to do, he said very simply. “Make friends and be friends.” and “Always sing for friends and never ask for money.”
A friend is a gift from God. We can only offer friendship, it will be reciprocated by those He has given to us as true friends.
The carved staff was a gift from my friend Warren just before he died. He was a native Ojibwe elder, as is my friend Kevin who gifted me the model horse.
The model horse has special meaning for me because the Ojibwe name I was given at ceremony, “bebezhigooganzhii” means ‘wild horse’ in the sense of being natural or free. The inscription below the model horse kneeling in respect to his fallen master reads, “Blood Brothers”
“If we walk in the light as he is in the light then we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin.” (1 Jn.1:7)
In order to experience this depth of friendship/fellowship our lives must be an open book to one another. We must also be on the same page – a “blank page” of availability on which God can write His story as we die to self in order to live a common life of integrity which like our rider is, “Faithful and True” (Rev.:19)
……..until “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”(Phil.2:10,11)
It is true friends that make us truly wealthy…. a wealth that keeps growing.
P.S. Next week the shepherd boy and his wife fly back to the Ol’ sod where we ventured out from 23 years ago. For 5 weeks we will reconnect with family and with treasured friends old and new. We’ll see if we get some more good stories to blog about over those weeks.
One of those friends is currently broadcasting freely his latest docu-series called, “Live Longer Feel Better’. I would encourage you to register by going to this link: