I want to talk today about something very important: Friendship.
I hope all of you have experienced at least one, though there are some people that sadly never have had a friend in all their life. But I was thinking recently: Why do we have friends? What’s so special about friendships that make us all want to have them?
I have two very close friends: Emr and Meron. Both are very different than me. Meron is brave and bold, with a dry sense of humor and love for wide open spaces. Emr is gruff with most people and grumbles a lot, but he’s loyal and loves to laugh with his friends. They’re about as different from me as you can get, and they are different from each other too. Why would three different people like us become friends? And if we are so different, why would we stay friends?
Honestly, I’m still not sure how we became friends. We just did, I guess. My guess is that my cousin had something to do with it, but I can’t prove anything. But I know why we are still friends.
Sure, we argue. We fight. We throw rotten tomatoes at each other and then summarily run while our target attempts homicide. But we still manage to stay together, and this is why: we stay together because we want to. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, Emr says (though he’s usually talking about breaking into the desert cellar). If we didn’t truly wish to remain friends, we wouldn’t. We would splinter and break apart, like shells smashed against rocks on the shore. But we want to. We want to always be friends, so we work to keep it that way. When something comes that may take us apart, we fight it. We don’t let anything stop us.
Sometimes friendships do end. It’s sad but true. But, unlike what most people say, you can always do stuff to try and stop it. People will move away, but you can fight to keep up your friendship. As long as both of you want it, it will happen. It’s the way life is–when it comes to relationships, there is no ‘there’s nothing I can do’. That’s just being lazy and defeatist.
But sometimes, someone won’t want to be friends anymore. People change, it’s what people do. They may not have moved away physically, but mentally they have. They’re like Susan in that book about the lion and the closet or whatever–at the very end, she couldn’t come back, because she didn’t want to.
When something like that happens, you still shouldn’t give up. Keep pressing on. If you fight, who knows? You may still win the day. But even if it doesn’t succeed, at least no one can say you did not try.
But back to the original question: what makes friendship so important? There are lots of answers, I think.
Friends will always be with you. With a true friend, even if you’re all by yourself, you’re not alone.
Friends will always have your back. When things are hard, they’ll rally to your side and help you win the day, like the army of the Rohirrim except less cool-looking.
Friends will help you stay you. When you mess up or start straying, they’ll be there to push you in the right direction (whether it’s a gentle nudge onto the right path or a shove into a creek to jerk you out of your self-pity).
Friends bring out the best in you. True friends love you for you, and will strengthen those best parts of you and help draw them out into the light where everyone can see them.
Friends defend you. When you can’t go on any further, your friends will step up and push away what’s crushing you long enough for you to breathe and get up again, so you can push on together.
But most of all, friends make us strong. Have you ever heard the phrase ‘strength in numbers’? A bunch of trees, all growing together, won’t be knocked down in a storm. A wall of linked shields can stand against the charging onslaught. Even if they’re not right there with you, their support and strength will always be with you. That’s why friends are so important. Alone, we’re all weak (though don’t tell anyone I said that. I have a reputation to keep). Together, nothing can move us or stop it.
Together we’re strong.