My day invariably begins with taking my jet-black poodle for her morning walk, an activity which is high on her list of priorities. We have a regular route which takes us about 10 minutes to complete.

Just as we’re setting out on this warm July morning, I remember that we’re out of oranges, so I decide to alter our regular route and instead head for the Carmelite mission that sits relatively secluded atop a small hill. The mission sells oranges for a couple of dollars a bag.

As we make the trek up the long circuitous drive that wends its way through the orange groves, I notice a sign with fading lettering proclaiming, “Prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God.—Teresa of Ávila.

I say a hearty affirmation to this beautiful message and purchase my bag of oranges.

Shortly thereafter, the dog fed and my orange juice made, I’m ready for my morning devotional time. I crack open my devotional book, and my eyes fall on the chapter title, “Listening prayer is friendship with God.” That got my attention!

Coincidence? No, I don’t think so. I’ve known God long enough to realize that He’s trying to tell me something. He had me notice that little mission sign because it related to what He wants to speak to me about today.

And it’s not as if God singled out this day out of the blue to suddenly start talking to me randomly about this topic, but as He often does, there have been general undercurrents, little impressions and incidents, along the way of late. Today has been only a further fine-tuning, a further crystallization.

What kind of things have I learned on this journey? Among others that the deep longing that we all experience, the aloneness that finds partial fulfillment in our earthly companionships, is only completely fulfilled in relationship with God.

            Friendship is identifying in thought and spirit with someone, and as we develop a listening, communing, interactive relationship with God, we’re able to enter into true friendship with Him.