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Friendship

I’ve been so tired the last few weeks.  Maybe “tired” doesn’t quite describe it.  “Drained” feels more appropriate.  The worst part is that I can’t point to one clear reason “why”.  Yes, I’ve been fairly busy with a number of different projects.  And yes, my schedule has generally been packed.  But I’ve been doing well with all my usual practices: spiritual disciplines like prayer and scripture, diet, exercise, sleep…they’ve all been good. 

It could be my kids though.  They’ve been rotating illnesses.  It’s like they scheduled a meeting to figure out how to be constantly sick. I can imagine them scheming: “Ok, if you take this Tuesday through Thursday, I’ll take the weekend in exchange for your dessert next week?” 

Ok, so maybe that’s not it either.  I was legitimately puzzled until I stumbled across the solution.  It was like when you sit down to eat and realize, “Huh, I didn’t know I was so hungry!” 

I reconnected with an old friend recently.  We’d first met nearly ten years ago in Afghanistan.  He was from Tennessee.  I was from Tennessee.  He came wandering into the office where I was working and we quickly struck up a friendship.  At some point, life took us in different directions.  I hadn’t seen him in four years. 

But recently, we sat down and had coffee.  We caught up on life and family and work.  It was really refreshing.  And as I drove home, I felt a lightness and an easiness I hadn’t experienced in weeks.  Why is that? 

There’s something beautiful, I think, about friendships.  They reveal something very deep about who we are and the God who made us.  As CS Lewis wrote, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”

Unnecessary friendship…that’s what my soul paradoxically needed.  To simply be with a friend for the sheer sake and pleasure of it is a true gift from God.  In some ways, this kind of intimacy is the gift of God.  Real friendship, forged through shared experience, is like one facet of the diamond that is God’s Trinitarian nature.  In a world where most of us have never ending “to-do” lists and we’re constantly needed at work or home or church, there is something liberating about the unnecessary beauty of friendship and the kind of love it reflects.  Today, may we experience the joy of unnecessary friendship with God and other people.

Stephen is an Inspire Missioner in Tennessee, USA.

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