The Professor – On Friendship

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“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“Courage Merry, courage for our friends! – Eowyn” 
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

“I’m glad I’m with you, here at the end of all things, Sam.” – Frodo
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

 The Bridge

J.R.R. Tolkien lost his mother at an early age.  Friendships were to be a steadying influence throughout his life.  He was a member of the famous Inklings, a literary society that included among the notables, C.S. Lewis and his elder brother Warren Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams and Tolkien’s son, Christopher.  There was an earlier society, The T.C.B.S. (Tea Club, Barrovian Society) named after their meeting place at the Barrow Stores.  The T.C.B.S. members continued to correspond closely, exchanging and critiquing each other’s literary work until 1916.  WWI took a toll on this band of brothers.  Two of his friends, Robert Gilson and Geoffrey Smith, were not destined to outlive the war.  In Geoffrey Smith’s last letter to J.R.R. Tolkien, the message was prophetic:  “Yes, publish… You I am sure are chosen, like Saul among the Children of Israel. Make haste, before you come out to this orgy of death cruelty… May God bless you, John Ronald, and may you say the things I have tried to say long after I am not here to say them, if such is my lot.”

In his writings, J.R.R. Tolkien celebrated and acknowledged the great deeds that were done in the name of friendship. He made good on his promise to his much-loved friend, Geoffrey Smith.

Tea for Someone

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“When you have nobody you can make a cup of tea for, when nobody needs you, that’s when I think life is over.” Audrey Hepburn

The art of making tea is not about getting the water temperature right, or setting the table with rare and delicate China teacups, or serving the most expensive tea. It is about taking care of each other and creating an atmosphere where fellowship is welcome and honoured. It is not about being served tea – it is the humble task of serving it to another fellow traveler. In doing so, our life has meaning, relevance and purpose.

 

Follow in Their Footsteps

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There is a time when you must let go…when memories will give strength…and tears courage.  Friendship endures.

“Your lost friends are not dead, but gone before, advanced a stage or two upon that road which you must travel in the steps they trod.”

Aristophanes (448 – 380 BC) Greece

Grateful for Happiness

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Today, I want to say thank you to my friends who gave me the gift of happiness…you are the gardeners of my heart…

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. “
Marcel Proust 

A Friend or My Shadow

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I am always willing to point out my faults, my shortcomings and my failures. But when someone else points out my faults, my shortcomings and my failures – well, that is a different matter altogether.

Friendship is about candid and open debate.  That’s what makes it exciting and moving forward….

“I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.
Plutarch

A Merrier World

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“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
J. R. R. Tolkien 

I cannot eat hoarded gold so give me food, cheer and song…and a cup of hot tea on a cool autumn day!