Image via WikipediaI recently gave my last talk in an Adult Faith Formation program at a Catholic church as I move on to a new teaching opportunity. The experience of ending my participation after several years was bittersweet. Many of you likely have had the same experience. You slowly and gradually build relationships as you become accustomed over time to different people and their personalities. What was jolting at the very beginning is now old hat. We know each other and tolerate each other's idiosyncrasies. We give each other some slack.
From the world's point of view, what did I gain? Did I gain money or status or fame or power? None of those. But I gained what many of you also gain from getting know to people over time and persisting in fruitful relationships: the benefits of friendship and mutual comfort around one another. Can we put this gain into words? Not fully. But in our gut we know that this fruitful relating to others over time is the meat and marrow of life. It is a sign that we have indeed lived. If you are not getting that, find it. No "drug" (whether that drug is alcohol or some other chemical or any other pleasure) can substitute for it.