Though the path to joy may not yet be made or we may be feeling our way along from one corner to another or the way may be slippery and stony and hardly seem worth it from this end, yet we create, we find, and we seek. Beloved, so it is with the gift of friendship: from strangers we exchange hearts and become friends, we fumble from nodding acquaintances across hallways and street corners with dogs impatient for the next stop, we are unsure and yet, eventually, joyfully surprised. Beloved, help us cherish and nurture the gift of friendship in our lives - the gift of attentiveness to our hearts, our hopes, our hesitations, our happiness, our failures, and our successes. Let us be glad and grateful for the holy ground of friendship, for the space to be fully who we are, vulnerable and strong, good and bad, with others who share their whole selves with us, too. Such mutuality is a gift, a blessing that keeps us and keeps others, a gift that can change communities and change us for the better, a blessing that is made of blessing one another, giving and receiving in good times and ill. Beloved, may we cherish the blessings of friendship, though the path to joy may not yet be made or we may be feeling our way along from one corner to another or the way may be slippery and stony and hardly seem worth it from this end, may we yet create, find, and seek. May we take the risk of offering our whole selves and dance with joy when that same risk is taken and offered to us. May we be ready for such blessing. Amen.