The Art of Friendship

My 10th High School Reunion is coming up! But, I won’t be there. Not because I don’t want to be or anything. It would be really cool. And I can understand why so many sitcoms use the “High School Reunion” scenario. It’s because you want everyone to see how well you’ve done – or you want old friends to see that you’ve lost weight – or you don’t want to go because you’re embarrassed – or you want to see that your life is better than everyone else’s. I would be quite selfish, probably, and want to go show off my husband who is really nice-looking and has a sexy accent. I wasn’t really selfish in high school, so daydreaming about showing off seems like less of a sin. 🙂

But, I would be quite happy to see those people I graduated with living equally happy lives. I do sincerely want the best for them. And that makes me not such a horrible person?

The Art of

So I’ve been thinking about my high school experience lately. Do you remember when you were in junior high/intermediate and high school, wondering who would be valedictorian or salutatorian? The top 10% were always honoured in some way. I remember that five highest grade point averages gave little speeches at graduation – The Valedictorian got to say whatever they wanted. I think one of them did the invocation or the benediction, but the others were given topics like “Success”, “Moving On”, or “Friendship”.

The “Friendship” topic was in high demand, and I can recall the girls talking about how they just did not know what they would do without their friends – How could they possibly go off to college and leave all their friends? Many of them, I believe, stayed and went to the nearby university. I don’t know if this was due to finances, family, relationships, or fear of losing friends. For many, I’m sure it was finances. Live at home and save money. But, I used to imagine: What would I say about friendship if I were given the chance?

Honestly, I would have tried to turn the topic elsewhere. Something like: Many of us are leaving behind the people that make us feel safe and comfortable. But, we are going forward to bigger and brighter things. To more friendships. To more people that understand us. To a world and an adventure bigger than anything we have known so far. And then my speech would have turned into a rant on adventure, because adventure is obviously more important than friendship. Right?

I’m not so sure anymore. They kind of go hand-in-hand now.

Anyway, the topic of “friendship” was my least favourite of all the topics given. I guess I thought that friendship was for the weak – for those that, in my mind, lived a different kind of life. Because I was in school pre-High School Musical. I was in school during the era when the cool people had the “real” friends. The ones you would want to have.

No one was like me in high school, so I guess feelings of loneliness started there. I never felt lonely at home, and my mom was my best friend – which I’m really glad about, especially looking back. I mean, I had what you might be able to call friends in high school. Friends that made me feel bad about eating healthy food because they were eating unhealthy food, friends that said they would go to the big banquets with me and took someone else, friends that stayed silent while I struggled through depression and anxiety, and friends who disappeared when my dad was in a car accident. But, writing about friendship seemed like a waste of time.

I don’t think it’s such a waste of time to write about now. So here I am. And here is what I know about friendship. What do you think of when you think of “friendship”?

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Real friendship is not shallow. Real friendship is lasting.

Real friendship doesn’t get angry when you don’t call, and you don’t get angry when they show up late. It’s patient and kind. It doesn’t get jealous or try to one-up you. It’s not selfish. It wants your good. (1 Cor. 13)

Friendship is about community. It’s a form of family. We may not see one another every day, like in high school. We might be halfway across the world, as most of my friendships are. But, we are the same. We watch each other grow up and grow old. By helping each other, we because happier and healthier together.

Friendship is mutual, but not always easy. Sometimes a good friend goes through a bad time, and that is when you stay by their side. That is when you get close, and that is when you are welded together and real, trusting friendship is forged in the fire. You love them in spite of their flaws or troubles and they love you in spite of yours – mutually.

Friendship is a gift. When a good friend comes along, you have found a blessing. You have gotten lucky. If you find someone that can cry with you, and that you care enough about to cry with, then you have found a bottle of precious tears. There is a lot of magic in those tears. If you find someone that can laugh with you, and at you, and at life, and you can do the same

Deep friendship is not exclusive, but it is not freely given. My best friend taught me this. I wanted to be everyone’s best friend, and in trying to do that, I spread myself too thin and even made myself sick. Don’t feel bad if you can’t be there for everyone. We are human. Be a friend, but know that the deepest friendships can only come two or three at a time.

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My mom always told me that when I went off to college, I would make life-long friends that had the same interests as me and were more like me. I’m glad she was right. To miss out on that kind of friendship would be sad. I was content before, but having real best friends and trying to be a real best friend for them, is one of the most continuously rewarding experiences that any human being could ever know.

Looking back over my life thus far, I can now see that friendship is not fluffy. It’s not about who you can give the other half of your friendship necklace or bracelet to. It’s not just pink and girly. It’s rough. It’s blood, sweat, and tears. It’s adventure on one of the highest degrees. It’s climbing a mountain, but climbing it with someone else. And that, my friends, is a pretty good deal.

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