Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Fellowship

Arthur never heard speak of a knight in praise but he caused him to be numbered of his household … Because of these noble lords about his hall, of whom each knight pained himself to be the hardiest champion and none would count him the least praiseworthy, Arthur made the Round Table…It was ordained of Arthur that when his fair fellowship sat to meat, their chairs should be high alike, their service equal, and none before or after his comrade.  Thus no man could boast that he was exalted above his fellow, for all alike were gathered round the board, and none was alien at the breaking of Arthur’s bread.
Roman de Brut, Wace

For thousands of years storytellers have told us of mythic Legendary Leaders and their bands, their fellows, their friends, and their covenant brothers. Such stories have always resonated with us. 

King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table
Robin Hood and his Merry Men
The Three Musketeers
Frodo and his eight fellow travelers
Harry Potter and the ever present Ron and Hermione

There is something about the metaphor of a band of brothers that we intuit as a relationship that would bring immeasurable joy. It isn’t just a case of seeing pragmatic reality—we need fellow soldiers if we are going take this hill, a team to build this business—but a deep sense of psychological necessity.

We were not created to be alone and go it alone. And we know it.

Even the cynics who scoff at such relationships as childish Fairy Tales are betrayed by their fear, anger, and bitterness. “It should have been so, I needed it to be so, but was betrayed and will never allow myself to go there again. People are idiots.” Their cynicism belies a deep-seated pain over not experiencing what their hearts so desperately needed.

We long to belong. We wonder what it would be like to know that we know that he has our back, that she will get in our face if we are about to walk over a cliff, that they will ride to our defense. We need to be loved and to love. We need the gifts, skills, wisdom, and light of others, as they need ours. We need others to help us realize our visions.

The Fellowship of a Round Table
When we read stories such as that of King Arthur and his knights, what is it that makes such “fellowships” possible? How does the process work? What has to Be There for this to become what it is our hearts long for and need?

I believe that such fellowships are rooted in a commonality of vision and our core beliefs and principles, as well as a mutuality of our sense of life. The more these all align, the deeper the potential for true fellowship. How many of our past relationships never developed into what we longed for or fell apart because there was a lack of alignment on these core elements? Without casting aspersion on anyone and believing the best of all, just how deep of a fellowship can we have with people whose visions and core beliefs are not merely different but are actually opposed to each other? Come on. The only way for Arthur and Mordred to have fellowship is for one of them to convert.

Fellowship, however, is more than acknowledging that we have the same beliefs.. Fellowship involves sharing, participating, and contributing. I have been in churches, communities, associations, clubs, and even families that had a broad base of commonality. However, these knights were not seeking to establish a vision in reality and were not sharing and participating in each other’s lives. They simply sat at the Round Table staring at each other, maybe enjoying a beer together from time to time, and then each going out to live their separate lives. This is not a sign that such brotherhoods are a fantasy but a demonstration of people refusing to actually fellowship.

The kind of relationships we long for and need don’t just happen. We aren’t going to wake up one morning and magically find our selves sitting at a Round Table with fellow knights discussing strategies for defeating the Saxons and establishing Camelot. Fellowships are forged over time with great effort, ongoing demonstrations of love and support, and tested by battle after battle, both internally to maintain relational integrity and externally to realize our visions.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2014

No comments:

Post a Comment