I started the day today with breakfast with one of my best friends. We laughed, and for a change this time – I don’t think either of us cried! Yes!!
I traveled there alone with my thoughts (such great introvert time!) and reflected for a while about some of the people I have considered friends over the years. Some, I’ve been close to for a season, some for much longer. This reflection was in part due to a couple of conversations I’ve had recently. Our year 12 students (seniors), at school are about to say goodbye and head off into the world, and as per usual there are some friendships that are starting to wear thin.
The angst that we see daily in the high school and middle school over friendship issues always gets me thinking – as a teenager I didn’t have what I’d consider a large number of friends, maybe just one or two good friends. I remember when I left year 12 I was kind of pleased to say goodbye, that chapter of my life was done and I was keen to move on. I think I found it very difficult to be close friends with people that I had little in common with. School friends were never incredibly important to me. In primary school I had a couple of close friends. As a teenager, I attended a number of different high schools and we moved towns a few times. I had a few good church friends, some cousins I was close to and that was just about all I needed. Maybe this is because of my introversion and the fact that I’ve always been pretty happy with my own company. I really have no friends that I’ve known my whole life – and I don’t think this has effected me negatively. There’s really no one to remember all the stupid things I did or said when I was younger!
I think adulthood is where I’ve truly learned the value of friendship. The value of knowing and being known, and the value of investing in people.
The word of God highlights the importance of good companionship and it’s something that we are trying to help our children with. In an age when social media is constantly highlighting the importance of friends and followers, we need to help them to discern what kind of people we should be looking to being friends with.
Friendship is a key theme throughout the word of God, over and again we are reminded of the importance of choosing our companions wisely.
Job suffered quite a bit as a result of the words of his friends.
Just reading that passage today I was surprised to see that the moment at which Job’s losses were restored was when he prayed for his “friends”.
Haman consulted and plotted with this friends and it resulted in his own downfall.
Joseph was left alone and friendless, hated by his own brothers.
Jesus himself was on more than one occasion alone – they all “forsook him and fled”.
We do see however time and again the great gift that friendship can be – Adam and Eve before the fall, met and communed with God daily.
Abraham was called a friend of God.
Enoch walked with God.
Friendship is a great blessing bestowed on us by a God who has designed us to be in relationship with Himself and with each other. Introvert or extravert, we all need people who truly know us, build us up, challenge us and encourage us.
There are still too many lonely people out there in the world who do not know the joy of true friendship. I’m very much in love (I’m not even using hyperbole here) with Netflix’s The Little Prince (based on Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s book The Little Prince) and the lessons that it has to teach about responsibility, love and friendship.
One of the main reasons I love The Little Prince is that it encourages the reader (or viewer) to recognise that the most important things in life are the things that are invisible. Things like, the love that the little prince has for his rose and his friendship with the fox. De Saint-Exupery encourages the reader to be responsible not simply for self, but to realise that each of us is also responsible in some way for the people in whom we invest, those we “tame”.
to tame something means to establish ties …
… if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world …
One can only understand the things that one tames. Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy ready-made things in the shops. But since there are no shops anywhere where you can buy friends, men no longer have any friends. If you want a friend, tame me …
The book encourages us in a disposable, instant gratification, kind of society to focus on investing in others, in people, in what is invisible.
So my challenge to you this week is: set up that coffee date you’ve been postponing.
So what if you are the one who’s always trying to catch up, so what if you are the one who always makes the first move – just do it. And that person who just came to mind, the person who you think looks a little bit lonely? Maybe he/she is, maybe you should include them too. Or maybe you are lonely, maybe you should make the first step and be a friend to someone who’s lonely too…
Finally my unique and amazing friends, who challenge me, inspire me, provoke me to good, encourage me, lift me up, build up … thank you!! 🙂