Friendship. Something I talk about often. Because it has been so formative to who I am. It’s a part of what us as humans gravitate towards- connection. To know and be known is one of the most beautiful discoveries.
My experience of friendship is probably similar to most. You’ve had some great friends, some not so great friends. Ones you speak to daily, ones you see once a year. Friends that have walked with you through certain times in life. People who are there for the fun and parties. The road trip friends, the camping friends, the wine and dine friends. The friends whose life experiences could not be more different. The friends who you connect with because you feel like they actually get it. Those who you go deep with. Those who you don’t. I’m learning the value that exists in all sorts of friendships.
Just like many people, I have had friends who have hurt me deeply, whether they have known it or not. Strangely, I feel blessed that although I have friendships that may no longer exist or don’t exist to the capacity I would have always hoped, there was richness in those seasons. I remember a dear friend of mine once said that some friendships are for the season, and at the time I didn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe that there was the possibility of losing people you loved and journeyed with. But alas, such is life. And from these people and experiences, I have learned so much, grown so much and hopefully can be a better friend as a result. Anytime we lend ourselves to the vulnerability, there is the possibility of getting hurt.
For myself, I face the challenge of being across the world from many friends. As vigilant as I try to be in maintaining relationships, naturally I have had to reconcile that as much as I try, friendship with people I have done a lot of life with looks completely different. I am learning that it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. The place they hold in my heart doesn’t change, and we still champion each other from afar.
On the opposite end, I have friends who have changed my life for the better and redeemed much of what I thought about getting hurt from friendships. Those who have walked with me through some messy, hard stuff. Who have showed up when I haven’t been able to. And just loved me where I was. I think about these moments and friends, and it makes me emotional because of how much they have cared for me. In the moments where I pushed everyone away, they still pressed in. I often think about how easy it is not show up as a friend… it sounds bad, but life gets busy, we all have our own stuff and so on. Knowing you have people that back you no matter what is a pretty special thing. One of my dear friends taught me about the idea of covenant friendship, and it’s shaped much of my view of friendship since.
Bear with me on this…
You know how when people get married, we say “It is more than a commitment… it’s a covenant”- meaning that it is sealed and can’t be broken.
Well. What if we treated our friendships this way? What if we couldn’t get mad, annoyed, disagree, hurt, take on offence and just bail? What if we had to stick around for the long run. No matter what, you make it work.
This idea has shaped so much of how I have seen friendship since then. It’s incredibly vulnerable to put yourself out there and express your love and care of someone, knowing that we are all human and make mistakes. I once heard a speaker say “Show me the worst thing about you, and see if I run.” That sums it up. I want to be there for the real stuff in my friendships. I want to be invited into the chaos of someones life and for them to know they have someone. And that’s what I believe covenant friendship is all about.
I don’t necessarily believe all friendships are meant to be covenant friendships, and that’s okay. The beauty of friendship is that you get to choose. I know it can sound full on to some people, but it’s what I am here for. Raw, genuine connection. People who are here for the mountains and the victories. Friends who can weather the distance. Friends who are there for more than just the convenience of friendship.
Don’t get me wrong, I love having fun with my friends. It’s not all DnMs and crying on each other’s shoulders. It’s memories made, stupid things done and just enjoying each other’s company. I find it hard to be friends with people if we can’t laugh and just be. But for myself, it’s more than that. It’s the people you can laugh and cry with. It’s the friends you can call when you feel you have nobody else to call. It’s the ones who have known you and seen you grow and change.
It sounds like a lot of work. And sometimes it is. But the payoff of experiencing true friendship is something I could never put a value on. Friends who back you, empower you, pray for you, call you out on your crap, know you and are there for you. It’s something worth fighting for, having confrontational conversations for and really investing into. And, it takes a village. It takes people who are different from you. Those with different perspectives, values, beliefs and more. But that’s a part of the beauty of it. You learn and grow and open your mind to things you would have never thought. It’s a chance to be sharpened by others and to help bring the things you carry into the life of your friends. While writing this post, I have recounted so many friends who whether in my life now or in the past have shaped me in some sort of way.
Friendship, people. It’s life changing and life giving. Who are the people in your life you feel privileged to call friend? Don’t forget to let them know.