Friendships are a blessing and are one of my favorite parts about being a human. Especially as a single person, I treasure my dear friends very much as they provide me not only with so much laughter and a spiritual support group, but with an outlet for my sanity! Plus, they serve as my homebrew taste testers and helping hands. That’s what friends are for, right?
The outpouring of encouragement and notes from readers near and far after my post, Growing Old Alone, has been truly humbling. There is no other way to describe it. And one of the themes that emerged from the notes was the value of having a best friend or two. I am blessed to have a few best friends, all of whom serve different purposes in my life. And that’s such a great thing about friendship: that you can have friends with whom you share different bonds. One of my best friends shares my sense of humor, my love of beer and the Catholic faith. Another shares my college experience and life in Atlanta as a single 30-something. Another shares the joys of being a faithful, young adult Catholic who studied theology and knows better than to be an irresponsible adult. The list goes on.
The one thing that unites all of my friendships, however, is our shared love for the Catholic faith. These people, each in their own way, make me a better Christian. Whether it’s because they ask me faith-related questions or challenge me to step up my prayer life or simply call me out when I’m being stupid (believe me, this happens often).
It seems a natural transition for me to ponder the friendships between Jesus and the disciples. I’m sure there was a lot of boys will be boys, but also a lot of challenging each other to become the best version of themselves (Thank you, Matthew Kelly). And because of this, I often wonder if I’m serving my friends well in my words and actions. Am I doing as the Apostles would have with Jesus or am I being a fool?
The Bible offers several great verses on friendship:
Two are better than one: They get a good wage for their toil. If the one falls, the other will help the fallen one. But woe to the solitary person! If that one should fall, there is no other to help.” — Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
“Where one alone may be overcome, two together can resist. A three-ply cord is not easily broken.” — Ecclesiastes 4:12
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” — John 15:13
“Iron is sharpened by iron; one person sharpens another.” — Proverbs 27:17
“Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter; whoever finds one finds a treasure. Faithful friends are beyond price, no amount can balance their worth. Faithful friends are life-saving medicine; those who fear God will find them. Those who fear the Lord enjoy stable friendship, for as they are, so will their neighbors be.” — Sirach 6:14-17
And the wonderful wisdom of the saints does as well:
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, “What! You too? I thought I was the only one!” — C.S. Lewis
“Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious.” – St. Thomas Aquinas
“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” – St. Thomas Aquinas
“On the question of relating to our fellowman – our neighbor’s spiritual need transcends every commandment. Everything else we do is a means to an end. But love is an end already, since God is love.” — St. Edith Stein
So with this, thank one of your friends today by buying them a beer. Or wine or liquor is that’s their fancy! We are each so blessed to have friends who would do anything for us. We can’t make it to Heaven without their love and support. God did not create us to navigate through life alone. And for that, I am grateful.