The Good Friends We Meet Each Fall

Brothers and sisters:
Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another;
for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery;
you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,”
and whatever other commandment there may be,
are summed up in this saying, namely,
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Love does no evil to the neighbor;
hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.

Romans 13:8-10


If you let me,
I could be your good friend
I know that if you let me
We could walk together …

Good Friend”- Mary MacGregor

A wonderful colleague in education sent me a handwritten note, thanking me for sending a book, signing off with “Your good friend.”

First, to receive a handwritten note in the mail, in 2020….

Second, the song, from 1979, is actually from a rather silly movie, “Meatballs”, starring Bill Murray. The plot, basically, involves  summer camp head counselor Tripper (Murray) convincing his campers to work together to beat  rivals in the areawide Camp Olympics. The song shows up in the film, and that’s the tie in.

Yet, there is a connection with Paul’s letter to the Romans. There are behavior expectations, there is “convention”, but somehow, friendships grow oftentimes by not paying attention to “the rules.”

I have had the privilege of seeing the opening of 13 fall semesters at Benedictine College. I am always amazed, and sometimes, amused, when I see how first year students, nervous enough in trying to figure out where their classrooms are located, and what their instructors will be like, trying to figure out where they fit in. Will people like me? What if the “me” I know gets lost? Will anyone care?

When I got a plaintive email from a student that states “I am so confused …”  I responded: let’s walk this back. I ran through the steps the young man needed to follow to complete the assignment. He wrote me back, thanking me, and, yes, he turned it in, successfully. I think he’ll have the confidence to move ahead and be successful elsewhere in his academic career.

I have written previously about the joy that comes from seeing these young people, sometimes quite unexpectedly, find a spark that leads to friendship and, sometimes, a relationship to build on. This has happened for two alums, wonderful people, who started their Benedictine College careers a few years ago, meeting each other, growing in friendship, and, after separate journeys not “seeing the light” are now working their way to what I believe will be marriage, and I am thrilled.

These are “good friends”, now in a growing relationship. When I asked the lady how it felt to be responsible for someone other than yourself, she laughed, and responded it was great!

Whatever the “laws” or “rules” are, love one another, and so much joy is spread from “good friends.”

Michael Throop