In human action and interaction, there is rarely, if ever, any sort of arbitrariness. There is always a "point" to it...something I am trying to "get" or "achieve."
It is a dangerous business to always go through life without examining what kind of pay-off I am trying to get from my actions. "What is the point of what I'm doing?" I must ask if I truly wish to be a person of virtue.
I have become aware, recently, of how lax I have been in checking myself for these pay-offs. I thank God that I know I'm being an arrogant fool sometimes. It comes out in a few of these posts. While it may be true I feel like a Jedi when I counsel people, I think it is true I tell people so not for any reason other than because I want their approval, which is a very silly reason. If I am to be someone who only cares how God judges me, that's not really the way to go about it.
Even while I am being more vigilant in my awareness of why I am doing what I'm doing I know that I must have blind spots. This is why I have decided I need to make sure I am getting plenty of virtuous friendships. The path to righteousness was never intended, I believe, to be taken alone. This is why I am very grateful for the friendship of a man I will refer to as G.
G and I only met this year, and I must say at first I was a bit annoyed at him. Not because I didn't appreciate his sense of humor and found him a bore, but because I was so unused to not having to work to make friends with someone that I found it almost irritating. But I am grateful I decided to throw this aside and give it a shot. G is a great Catholic man, and even though he seems awkward and timid to the unobservant, in reality he is definitely not afraid to ask me the tough questions. "Do you think you're reading too much into it?" He asked the other day as I told him a guy-to-guy story. I thought briefly and answered "yes" because of course I was.
I appreciated this probably more than I let on to G, because I need friends like him to alert me to my blind spots. Someone to sharpen my iron, to use the Pauline phrase. I know I can count on G to help me grow in virtue, because I can tell that even more than he likes to have fun with me, I know he wants to grow closer to Christ, and help me in that, too.
G is, of course, not the only virtuous friendship I have. I could mention a few others, some of whom are probably my readers (I believe there are about 8 people who regularly keep up with this blog in any regular fashion, and I have perhaps indulgently assumed these are my closest associates). However, G is a great example of what I hope to have more of. I find I am increasingly less interested in idle amusement in my friendships, and more and more interested in learning something from them. This is what attracts me most to a person: their wisdom that I so desperately need!
There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for a virtuous pay-off.