City of Friends

One of my devotional readings this morning was Walt Whitman's The Calamus Poems. I practice bibliomancy, just opening a book at random and starting to read. This is what Walt Whitman had to tell me today:

"I dreamed in a dream, I saw a city invincible to the
          attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth,
I dreamed that was the new City of Friends,
Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust
          love - it led the rest,
It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of
          that city,
And in all their looks and words."

And the word remaining with me from this reading is invincible. ". . . a city invincible to the attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth." A city - a sanctuary city - made invincible through Love, not through Fear of the Other. Is this not what we want now? Considering the nefarious greed of some of the world's leaders now, is this effective, achievable? Does invincible also mean impregnable?

Earlier this week I experienced one of the most beautiful evenings of the winter, an evening with my three closest friends celebrating a birthday (not mine): dinner out, and then birthday cake and pink champagne in. The restaurant was good, but also loud. Now my missing a few words here and there has been a joke among my friends for several years now ("Russian, Thousand Island, vinaigrette. Two blocks down and take a left!"), but I have reached the age (or stage) where sometimes I have to lean in physically to pick up what's said.

But after dinner, sitting around a round table in a spare, calm, well-appointed dining room, in a conversation ranging from heartfelt compassion to side-splitting laughter, sharing old and new problems and old and new jokes, with three men I've known over 25 years now - that, I realize, is my invincible city. Surely this is the best of life: the exclusive nature of a room in someone's home, the golden love of many years, the mellow shine of our acceptance of each other, warts and all.

My goal, my desire, my challenge is to create that invincibility throughout my life.