Well, I have exciting news. I’m heading out to Wisconsin to visit one of my very best friends in ONE WEEK! I haven’t seen her since the day she was married, and I stood beside her as her matron of honor, now 1 year and 10 months ago.
Since then she has lived as a married person, been pregnant, gave birth, and now her little guy is nine months old! I haven’t seen her for any of that! Oh man, I miss her so much!
We’ve kept in touch through phone calls, Google chat, Facetime. I’ve waved to her baby through the screen of her smart phone; but I haven’t given her a hug, laughed in her presence, prayed with her in almost two years.
Romans 1:8 First, I give thanks to my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is heralded throughout the world. 9 God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in proclaiming the gospel of his Son, that I remember you constantly, 10 always asking in my prayers that somehow by God’s will I may at last find my way clear to come to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may share with you some spiritual gift so that you may be strengthened, 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by one another’s faith, yours and mine.
This words speak the desire of my heart. I long to see this friend who shares with me what is most important in my life: knowledge, love, and commitment to Jesus. I get how Paul must have felt. “I can’t wait to see you. I have such amazing things to tell you, and it will be so encouraging just to be by your side for awhile!”
As C.S. Lewis puts it:
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.
Do you have a friend like that? Someone who just being in her presence allows you to put words to what’s in your heart but even you hadn’t articulated yet? Who isn’t afraid to tell you the truth, even when it’s not the easy thing to say? Who helps you see the person you are and could be, even when it’s hard to believe in their faith in you? Someone who stands with you whatever the odds against you?
Good friends help us to understand how to rely on other human beings, how to entrust what we hold dear into their care, how to be loyal and courageous on their behalf, how to love. They teach us to understand just a little better what it feels like to be part of the Trinity, the loving mutual God in whose image and likeness we are created. To be two people and yet to share so deeply a part of yourself that you are truly known to one another while remaining all your unique and crazy-wonderful self. They help us face the world and have the courage to act on the call of our hearts. Now that is friendship.
That’s this friend. And I get to see her next week!