By Alan Delery
While celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary, I was on the balcony of my room overlooking the beach. It was early morning before the crowds began to set up. As I looked down, I noticed two young men working out together. While I don’t know their story, I was impressed at their connection to one another. Every move was intentionally synced with one another. It was as if the earth stood still just for this scene. They were the actors and I was the observer of “philia” love.
I knew of philia as one of the Greek words that we translate love. I googled the word and read, “As nouns the difference between phobia and philia…phobia is an irrational or obsessive fear or anxiety, usually of or about something particular while philia is friendship.”
It seems to me that we, as a society, have been growing a phobia toward “others” rather than philia or friendship. As I sat there watching these two young men exercise a friendship, hope began to grow in my heart. A hope that didn’t look at the color of a person’s skin but a hope in the release of potential in humanity. A hope that two people could have a vision for their future and work together to push themselves to release their potential.
Yes, I know that this scene has a tomorrow yet to be experienced. One filled with isms and systemic pressures that will test their friendship and future opportunities. We live in a world filled with conflict, roadblocks and hardships. I also know that their training together can also prepare them for those challenges.
They are taking time to prepare for life. It is my hope that they will make a difference in the world. It is my hope that they will build character as they train together. I pray that they will know just how powerful their friendship can be and remember this moment.
May you look at them and be inspired to develop a friendship with someone that will push you to your limits, challenge your bias and teach you to love your neighbor as yourself. This is the higher love that Jesus taught.