Thoughts on Friendship

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE people but recently I have found myself thinking and saying that I don’t have time for anymore friends.  This is not a Facebook thing.  This is not a vanity thing.  And it isn’t because I am getting too much people time.  If anything because I am an extrovert I want more.  Instead I think that this has to do with the dilemma that arises when I think about what kind of friend I want to be.

I have friends scattered all over the globe.  Not just acquaintances but friends who I could show up on their doorstep and be welcomed into their homes.  Friends who keep up with me even though we haven’t seen each other in years and might not see each other for a few more.  Friends who pray faithfully for me.  Friends who I talk to on the phone.  Friends who read my newsletters and blog.  The random text message friends.  Friends who I pray for.  Friends who I skype with.  Friends who I email.  And the true friends are people who after a long time apart, I would love to just have an afternoon with face to face.  Time to really catch up and be together.  But unfortunately this is a challenge because the world is a big place.  And of course there are those people, who for various reasons, I have not kept up with.  I still think about them and pray for them but the contact just hasn’t remained.  These days I am thankful for blogs, family and work newsletters and Facebook because it helps me to keep up with more people.  However, sometimes I wonder if we settle for the illusion of friendship instead of the real thing.

I ask myself often, how is it possible to truly invest in people’s lives if our friendship affections are completely scattered.  Would we be better friends if we gave up a few?  We were created for relationships.  We need people but do we really need 1000 closest friends?  If we do then we are setting ourselves up for failure or at least watering down what friendship should be.  Of course there are people who come and go from our lives in seasons.  Sometimes we can accept this easily or for me, I tend to mourn the loss of someone who for a time I shared my heart and life with.

This creates quite a dilemma for my life in general.   I need community and I need people, I need friends.  So each time I move, I try to work and build myself that community.  This doesn’t mean that I want to or can ignore my other friends but instead now my time is even more divided.  Those who are geographically closer to me automatically gain more time.  This is how it should be but I can’t help but think, as I get to know a new friend, that I am just going to have to say good-bye to them sooner rather than later.

There are no easy answers.  I am comforted by the fact that I know my friendship network is strong and there are many people who feel torn between their friendships just as I do.  I know I am not alone in this.  Maybe we haven’t seen each other in years but when our paths cross we will be able to pick up where we left off and rediscover the friendship that is there.  This may not be the case with everyone but when that happens, I can remember and be glad for the time of friendship that we did have.

This musing just leaves me with more questions than answers but I can say that despite all ambiguity, I am thankful for my friends.  I am thankful for those relationships which sustain me.  I am thankful for the people who I can laugh, cry, love and live with.  I don’t think I will ever stop making friends.  My mobile life just won’t allow for that but I will do my best to continue to cherish and work on the friendships I do have already.

One thought on “Thoughts on Friendship

  1. Hey girl!! I have had those exact same thoughts as (and I’ve moved around the country…not the world!), and I just thought I might respond (bc I love you that much!)

    I am comforted by remembering that friendships go through seasons, just like any other relationship, and that we have to be willing to be “open-hearted” as the Lord moves us in (and further out) of each other’s lives. We have to be willing to watch as out closest girlfriend transitions into just a close girlfriend, and we have to be brave to dig into the community of new friends and acquaintances that God has put around us. It’s kind of a microcosm of the Christian life: we are still living the already-not yet! 🙂 But we have hope that one day we will never be separated!

    The philosopher in me is also comforted in remembering that friendships in and of themselves are not the goal–knowing, loving, and obeying God is the goal, and one way we can do that is to also love another. God is gracious to use friendships to make that happen!

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