As I mentioned on Monday, I realized how much I miss the community of a college dorm in comparison to the lack thereof here in Enola. Anyone who’s spent even a year in college can understand this. Every day, you’re surrounded by an astounding and unique group of people who, without trying, get to know you to the core because they spend at least 16 hours a day around you, waking and sleeping. You go to class and lunch together, you cry on each others shoulders, you laugh hysterically together, you run outside half-naked into blizzards together (What? You guys didn’t do that? Guys?).
Leaving this behind is very difficult. I never felt a greater mix of emotions than the day I graduated from college (or the days my friends graduated before and after me). I had achieved something great, something I didn’t think I could, but now it was time to leave, and even now, I’m not sure what moving on looks like. I mean, the time to stop officially learning (as in stop attending classes full time) is a necessary one, but how can anyone just leave friends behind as well? We have the fortune of living in an age of connectivity, where numerous avenues exist to communicate, keep in touch, even arrange reunions, but face to face contact on a daily basis is irreplaceable.
True friendship isn’t just confined to the halls of a college dorm, though. It’s found in high school (I didn’t have quite the same luck that most people have, but I definitely have lifelong friends from high school), in your job, at the grocery store, or even the bar. People gather together and unite over all kinds of reasons. People WANT to be around other people. Our heavenly father proclaimed it so when he said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Believe me, you’re not just looking for a roommate to help afford the rent; you do it because it’s nice to be around other people once in awhile.
Even Jesus loved being around his friends. He did spend time alone, no doubt, but he also spent time with his friends, and emphasized the value of friendship. He even stated that there was no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends. This didn’t just mean dying for them (which he did), but loving them unconditionally, without expecting anything in return. If there’s a catch, it’s not really love; it’s a business exchange. The friends I’ve made didn’t say to me, “pay monthly dues and we can be friends.” Instead, we found that we had a thing or two in common and went from there.
I think what friendship begins with is something in common. Whether it’s a song, a living space, or purely existence as a human being (I’ve met only one person who seemed to want to be my friends just because I was human; never seen it since). As time goes on, and the two or more of you grow together, that one thing in common, though a reference to how everything began, becomes obsolete. Suddenly, you’re friends, and it doesn’t matter how it started, really. You just know that the person sitting next to you matters so much to you that, if you or they were to leave, a void would exist. You’d do anything for them because you love them, Platonically or romantically (my wife is easily my best friend). There is always a reason for love to begin, but it doesn’t need a reason to continue.
Even further, the best friendships are ones that are not exclusive, but ones that spread. If you’ve ever read Rob Bell’s Sex God, there’s a chapter in it dedicated to talking about the love that Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash had for one another. People would see them together and they couldn’t help be infected by it. They cared about each other that much. Love like that doesn’t come overnight, nor can it be cultivated by inorganic means. It is a love built by time and trial (and if you’ve watched Walk the Line, you know that those two went through Hell together), and must grow with nothing synthetic added to it.
I think I saw something like this at the reception on Sunday. The dancing portion had just started up, we made it about 3/4 of the way through the Cha-Cha Slide, when something went wrong with the music and it cut out. Not 30 seconds later, all of the Doomsmen (don’t question it; just go with it) started singing Bad Romance. Only a couple of us had choir experience, but we went with it anyway and were having a blast. The funniest part, though, was watching everyone in the crowd react to it. The ongoing thought in everyone’s mind, including the bridesmaids, had to be, “What the HECK are they doing?” After 30 seconds, though, they were dancing along with it. Fortunately, the music came back on about 10 seconds after we forgot the words, but it was still really awesome, and no one will forget that part of the wedding (I hope, anyway).
On the similar note, I know for a fact that the bride and groom at said wedding carry this infectious love. :)
Anyway, I think this is going to be it for today. Today is hump day, and I know that people are trying hard to push through the rest of the work week (I have it easy, being that I’ve been off since Friday), so hopefully, today, you’ll consider what I’ve written about friendship. Consider your own friends, how much you care for them. Consider your spouse, how little your life would mean without them. Consider your coworkers, how much their support can mean to you. Know, above all else, that God created friendship as a means of holding humanity together.
(You know, these reflections are doing me a whole lot of good. I think I’m going to continue exploring them for awhile. See ya Friday!)