Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family. Proverbs 18:24 (MSG)
True Friend – Relationship Series – Part 2
In his book, ‘The Four Loves‘ CS Lewis said:
“Friendship arises out of mere companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.” … It is when two such persons discover one another, when, whether with immense difficulties and semi-articulate fumblings or with what would seem to us amazing and elliptical speed, they share their vision – it is then that friendship is born. And instantly they stand together in an immense solitude.”
I’ve always found it easy to make acquaintances: I can be kind and generous when I first meet someone. But building depth with a friend? Being real and vulnerable? Sharing my life – the good and bad days – with other people? That's been hard work for me. I’ve got a string of failed friendships dangling like torn strips of cloth in my memory. It still aches to think about them, to see them waving in the winds of fragmented emotions, closure as far away as could be…
And why does it matter? Do we need friends? Do we need solidarity and commonality? Do we need to be challenged? Do we need correction and guidance? Do we need shoulders to cry on and tables to laugh around? Do we need someone to be on the other end of the phone or the car ride or an email listening empathetically to our vulnerable moments of both heartache and joy?
Friendship can be challenging because we are all complex (yes, even you less strange ones). Like we said yesterday, we are all individually different; a crazy mash up of a million different things in a million different ways. And when we get together – my differences and your differences – sparks are going to fly.
And while we all – every individual on the planet – contain the same value, we won’t all get along with each other. And that's OK. We don’t have to best friends with someone to understand and ascribe to them their value. (more on this later.)
For every failed and blown apart friendship that I’ve had, I have at least one more that has been life and breath and deep and true and rejuvenating. What makes the difference?
Even if we don’t realize it, and no matter how content we may be with our own company, every heart longs to share with another heart. Our greatest need as humans is in fact not security, but solidarity. We search for other hearts and minds to share life with. And along the way, friendships begin, idle, thrive or end, depending on whether or not our hearts truly see, hear and love each other. Connected.
Some friendships are for seasons. Others for lifetimes. And that's OK.
Some people will only ever be around the edges of your life while others will be right in the middle with you. The key is to understand that no matter where people sit on the “friendship scale” in your life, they are just as valuable and worthy and loved as you are.
Perhaps, they are meant for someone else's heart and table. And, again, that's OK. There are plenty of hearts and tables to go around. Just make sure you steward the ones you hold and sit with well. And always keep a place open – you never know who might walk into your life and when.
Be kind. Be generous. Seek the good of others. Take good mental and heart care of yourself. Be open-handed and hearted. Laugh and cry and yell and scream. Forgive and ask for forgiveness. The work of living is just that: work.
It takes time, intentionality and humility to build a life and to form deep friendships. Commit yourself to the work.
Proverbs 18:24 says: “Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.”
Over to you… Do you believe friendships need work? Leave us your comments below.
Go to Part 3 – In Love »
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