The Discipline of Friendship

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)

I would have made an excellent monk. What I mean is that a day of reading, alone in a quiet house, makes for a great (if not perfect) day for me. In fact, I can live my Christian life almost perfectly so long as I don't have to be around other people. 😉 God, however, designed us for relationships of all sorts, one of which is friendship.

Looking back…

  • I am an only child, so I learned to entertain myself at an early age. While I don't remember having any imaginary friends, at one time I had an entire basketball league in my head. Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Shaq (am I showing my age?) were usually on my team, but I was the star player. Nearly every “game” we would be down by 30, maybe even 40, points, but I would always carry this all-star team on my back and make the buzzer shot to win the game. I didn't always have friends around, so I improvised.
  • Then I went through a phase when I played a lot of video games. Sure, sometimes friends would come over and play, but I was usually zoning out on these games alone…for hours.
  • Later, I became obsessed with music. I had friends that played and with some I started bands, but it wasn't unusual for me to jam out by myself.
  • When I worked on the farm, I could (and often would) spend about 10-14 hours a day driving a piece of equipment, rarely seeing other people (because my co-workers were doing the same thing!).
  • I spent about seven years immersed in the drug culture. Often, I was literally alone but sometimes “alone in a crowd.” I did have some real friends during this time, but many relationships were superficial. I met many people during this period of my life. I have no idea where most of them are now.
  • During part of that period, with some (but not total) overlap, I was involved in the local music scene. Again, people came and went. I have even been in bands where the members become like brothers, but now I hardly ever see or talk to them.
  • After I sobered up, I became immersed in church culture and met a lot of people there, as well.
  • I have been in and out of bands, jobs, and churches. I have gone broad with many, but deep with few. I have seen people come and go; I, myself, have come and gone… I have used people and I have been used. I have known people who were friends to me, but I wasn't to them, and vice versa…

I can faintly remember (because I was probably stoned) our high school counselor talking to my senior class, telling us that once we graduated, we wouldn't see each other very often, and could eventually lose touch altogether. I didn't believe her at the time, but she was right…

I didn't write this post to be sappy (because I'm not) or to make you think I don't have any friends (because I do). I have just realized, as of late, that, in my life, I have taken friendship for granted. This may be old news to many of you, but I'm a slow learner. 🙂 The word discipline in the title may sound cold, but friendship takes work. Nurture your relationships and be a friend.

Enjoy this tune from Josh Garrels:



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