Friendships involve people getting to know each other, spending time together , and so forth. So do attachments. Friendships involve mutual respect, as do attachments. Friendships involve sharing plans and dreams and secrets, and attachments do too.
But an attachment may involve someone feeling so drawn to another person or even a group of people that he loses sight of his own individuality and independence. This kind of attachment is not true friendship. In fact, it's just the opposite. It often involves emotional dependency and vicarious living. It is seeking something where that something doesn't exist.
Basically, the something we do seek can be found only in our relationship to God, the one infinite Spirit. This relationship is a certainty upon which we can - and inevitably must - base our lives. It's the foundation for all truly satisfying human relationships.
In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy n1 defines Spirit as ''divine substance; Mind; divine Principle; all that is good; God; that only which is perfect, everlasting , omnipresent, omnipotent, infinite.''n2
n1 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n2 Science and Health, p. 594.
Nothing unlike Spirit can be expressed in man, the image of Spirit. When we begin realizing through prayer that we're not really governed by the sticky, confining aspects of an attachment but instead by the one Spirit, we'll find our relationships, including marriage, harmonized, our friendships purified.
But suppose, in spite of our best intentions, we feel unduly dependent upon someone, or someone is slavishly attached to us. Through prayer we can feel the healing, purifying power of the Christ, and through this power the spell can be broken. But that doesn't necessarily mean we'll lose a friend. What is good in a relationship, expressing something of the divine nature, need not, and cannot, die, even if the outcome of our prayers is a parting of the ways.
It's a matter of looking to the right source for the right things, as Christ Jesus clearly taught in his Sermon on the Mount. We need to look to God first for the things we might have thought came directly from people. Is it warmth and closeness we seek? We'll find these expressed in the most appropriate ways as we trust and feel our closeness to divine Love, which is always with us. Is it support and understanding we need? We'll find them, and perhaps in a totally unexpected way, as we first rely on divine wisdom, so deep as to defy human comparison. Perhaps we simply want to talk with another person. Have we considered confiding in God, the one all-knowing, infinitely loving, Divine Being?
Of course we don't seek the truth of God just to find friends but to more completely understand our creator and ourselves as His image.
The Biblical patriarch Abraham was involved with family and friends and lands. One day God called him to pull up stakes and travel to another land for a new start. It was the journey that led to the founding of a nation that worshiped one almighty God.
Abraham obeyed. He retreated, you might say, from an attachment. Centuries later James wrote, ''And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.''n3
n3 James 2:23.
A friend of God! And God is our eternal friend! An understanding of this truth brings our human friendships into proper focus. We can see what is good in them and also what needs purifying.
The result? Perhaps less time spent with one person, more with others. Or perhaps more time spent with a particular friend but in freer circumstances. With the draining away of that personally attached feeling, we'll see more in our friends and they'll see more in us. We'll echo Mrs. Eddy's words, ''One marvels that a friend can ever seem less than beautiful."n4
n4 Science and Health, p. 248. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty. II Corinthians 3:17