Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one. ~C. S. Lewis
One of the sweetest parts of my life is that I can call someone “friend.” There are friends I have known for a year and friends I have known for over thirty-five years. We have stories full of laughter and tears, precious moments cherished by the participants, and secret looks that can only be understood by a few. These friendships have meant everything to me, have helped me celebrate, helped me mourn, helped me grow.
I met some of my dearest (oldest) friends when I was eleven. We played baseball, went swimming and bike riding, had sleep overs, talked about crushes, and built a foundation that has lasted over three decades. We have walked side-by-side through high school break ups and long-distance moves when others might have walked away. We have stood by each other’s sides as we have said, “I do” and when one of us has had to say good-bye to a parent. When we have welcomed our children and when we have felt the ache of divorce.
I met my husband more than twenty-five years ago and he quickly became a close friend. As we wrote letters during our college years we would often share Bible verses that we thought would encourage the other person. One that has always held special meaning to me is Proverbs 17:17, A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. At the time, the verse was a tender reminder of the brother and friend I had in my then-unknown-future husband. Our history helped our marriage have a strong foundation.
When I think of these dear people, I find myself overwhelmed with love and gratitude. I did not have to walk through the dark times of my life alone, I had someone with me. Someone who would listen to me as I explained my heart’s condition. Someone who would speak words of wisdom and encouragement to me (James 3:17-18) when I needed them. Our ability to walk with each other in our troubles and joys has made the difference in our lives again and again.
One of the blessings God has given us in this life are companions. In Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian had Faithful to walk with him, to encourage him on his journey. Their ability to pull the other up and encourage the next step impacts how we go through our lives. Proverbs 17:17 describes that so clearly, A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Faithful helped Christian through great adversity during their travels to the Celestial City. This is God’s design.
Are you a 17:17 kind of friend? What kind of friend are you? Would you be the one to answer the call in the middle of the night? Would you be the one who monopolizes all of the conversation, forgetting that the other person has a story to tell, too? What would it take for you to be that kind of friend? Make a call, send a text, write a letter, send a card. Listen, get together for coffee. Pray for your friends. Make time for them. Build new memories, take new adventures. Do life together.
You will be the richer for it.