The Transformative Power of Frið

We often encounter the idea that since our families do not understand frith, frith must be impossible. That the demands of frith are somehow overburdening, tyrannical, and outmoded. That without reciprocity, frith just doesn't apply; that this is, somehow, given as a reason to abandon it.

To those who have experienced frith; not the frith that is the joy of hearth and home and the happiness and laughter that comes with the good things in life, but the awe and wonder that comes along with the sudden realization that you are not facing your darkest moments alone. That when you are at your weakest, your most vulnerable, your most terrified, there are people who will arrive, despite all the stress, inconvenience, and even physical danger, and say, "Here, let me do this with you, so that you are not alone."

"Here, let me do this with you, so that you are not alone."

Imagine yourself in such a situation — the emotions roiling in your body at the very moment you feel most alone, you discover that there are others standing beside you. What a gob-stopping moment that must be, to find yourself falling from a cliff and instead of crashing to ruin, you are caught by another person. What does such an experience do to you? What emotional and spiritual changes do you undergo the moment you truly need someone and they them come through for you?

For both the person falling and the person lifting them up, the event is transformational. We learn in those moments who we truly are. It is not that these moments are not terrifying. It is not that these moments become easy. It is precisely because they are so hard that frith is so important.

To those who feel the pursuit of frith, in its duties and obligations, is somehow impossible or merely too inconvenient: Think about where you will be, when all you have is a phone call between life and death. Think about that utter terror that each unanswered ring brings forth from the dark places of your soul. Think about the flood of relief that occurs when the other person picks up the phone and says the words you need to hear, that does the deeds you need doing. That lifts you up from the pit of your crisis and allows you to once again be able to walk, to move, to think. Think about how you would be so changed by that ordeal. Think about how you would act, when in the moment you another person who needs the same frith you needed, and what, having experienced that moment in the past, you will do in the future.

And to those who shrug blithely in the face of those who doubt frith, believing they will have it when they need it, think about how hard it is when you are in your darkest moments, to even share that vulnerability for another, and then imagine that you did not even have the hope that you do now.

Ultimately, frith is not in the decision, it is in the act. We don't simply have frith because we say we do. We can only hope to have frith. We can say that when the family shirker is in dire straights that we will do what we must, but those are only words. It is only in the moment when all other hope is gone that the hope of frith manifests itself.

It is a constant state that must be renewed and re-enforced each moment it arises. It takes many decisions to keep frith, but only a single one to break it. Once broken, frith dies; a poison that rots not just one relationship; but all of them. Broken frith hangs heavy on the heart, and rots the ties that bind us to each other. Even at a distance, breaking frith has an impact on us, for who can trust trust's betrayer?

Frith changes you. Those who give it know they can, and those needed it and received it now know the profound power of it, and are more likely to show in the future. Transformed, they know they can repay it, because the only way to repay a frithly debt is with frith in return. Each act of frið is an act of hope and love, and there is nothing on this planet so powerful.

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