Word of the Week

Enduring Friendship

In a society such as ours, where most of us are so transient and live far away from biological family, friendship, it seems is growing more and more important to our stability as people. Who else do we have to call when our car dies or our children get sick or we just need someone to cry too? Our friends are not merely people who we go to dinner with occasionally or invite to parties, our friends are essential to our being.

Yet, such doesn't come naturally to us. Much to our surprise, especially as young adults, it seems that having friends doesn't naturally happen like it did in college or graduate school. It takes work.  It takes time. It takes trust. It takes vulnerability.

I was reading this portion about friendship recently, and was struck with how true these words were to my own experience. I thought you might enjoy them too:

Not even mutual admiration is, by itself, enough to keep a friendship alive that long. For one thing we discover somewhere along the line that even people we admire have feet of clay. The best of us is flawed. Our flaws show through eventually; we disappoint our friends, and sometimes their disappointments hurts enough to wound our friendship. Or even worse, we may discover that the traits we so much admired were put-ons, cosmetics hiding a shabby interior.  . . .

Besides, even friends who admire each other a lot drift a part when one moves to another part of the country. If I move away and don't see my friend for 5 years, and do not stay in close touch, our friendship is likely to die of malnutrition, with dignity maybe, and peacefully, but with the same result of dying. I may still admire him [or her], but I would admire him [or her] as a person who used to be my friend.

I feel a good deal of melancholy when I think of it, but it is true that we cannot count on mutual admiration to make friendships last forever, any more than we can expect friendships to last because friends like each other or are useful to each other. If friendships like these happen to last a lifetime, it is probably because they are more than friendships of affection, or usefulness or admiration. Most likely, they are held together because the friends are committed to each other.

-Lewis B. Smedes from Caring and Committment

So, I'll add "It takes mutual committment" to my list and be thankful this day for friends who stood and continue to stand the tests of time.