So, this time last week I was having a great time here at the Presbytery hosting the annual Reunion. Reunion of who? Ten of us who have been friends for 30 to 45 years, some of us going back to the first year at St Illtyd's, our grammar-now-high school. We try to have this get-together every year in February or March, and in recent years when I have been in Cardiff, I have been the host. It was brilliant, and ten is the biggest number we have ever had.
I suppose it always makes me aware of the importance of friends, too. When you're younger, well, you just have them, and that's it. It's only later, I think, especially after a few of life's experiences when you "find out who your friends are", that you begin to understand the deep menaing of friendship. If you're single, without that unique "someone" in your life, then perhaps friends take on an even greater significance. And a great sign is if you don't only talk about the good ol' days, and don't sort of regress to the last period at which you were together, as happens sometimes in arranged reunions. It means that your friendships are still very much alive, now.
For myself, I find that most of my best friends are married. That might surprise people, who often think that priests are only friends with other priests. Of course I have priest friends, but there is something very "earthed", real or normal if you like, about married folks, and I like it a lot. Last Saturday was a mixture of couples and singles - including me, of course. Two meals-for-four from the Chinese, several bottles of wine, and ten friends together for four or five hours. Fr M approves. Bigtime.