Extra Virgin :: What Is True Friendship?
We’ve been talking about intimacy lately—the fact that God has given us many different avenues to experience intimacy, all of which are meant to point to the joy that can be found in intimacy with God himself.
Today I want to talk about friendship. Most of us have had various experiences with friendship: some good, some bad, some just kind of…meh. But my interest has been piqued by how C.S. Lewis writes about friendship. He says that Friendship is very special and that it’s much more rare than most of us think. For example, he says that what most people call Friendship he would just call Companionship: the relationships you have with people where you share a common activity or lifestyle or work. These would include friendships between moms or the camaraderie between people who work together or the strong relationships found within a sports team. They’re meaningful and helpful and pleasant, but true friendship goes beyond that.
Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.”
Isn’t this lovely? It’s finding within companionship something deeper, a more important similarity that makes you feel not quite so alone, so weird, so much of an outsider. You feel understood and you also understand.
This makes me think of my friend Maria. We’ve been friends for over 10 years and have many things that bond us. We have common interests and we’ve been there for each other during dark times and happy times. But I believe we’re friends not because of those things, but because whenever I call on the phone, she doesn’t think of me as a wife, a mother, a lover of clothes and decorating, or a writer. She thinks of me as Aanna and she appreciates the perspective I bring to anything we want to talk about.
You can see why Friendship is so rare, but so immensely valuable once you happen upon it. And I’m interested to hear your thoughts on the matter. Have you ever experienced this kind of Friendship that Lewis is talking about? What was it about your friend or friends that pulled you to them? How was that Friendship important or meaningful to you? Do you experience intimacy within Friendship? I’m so interested to hear!
(Photo by the Parsons)