true friendship

As I drove to the gym tonight I was listening to my Warren Barfield CD. In his song Beautiful, Broken World, one part of the lyrics got me thinking:

If you never knew an enemy,
Oh, could you understand,
The worth of a friend?

While I think he is right that it takes having an enemy (or at very least a period of not having any friends) to really come to appreciate the value of friendship, I think it takes a whole lot more to come to understand the quality of a friend. I don’t think you can really know that until you have laughed, cried, played, worked, doubted, and worshipped with someone. Sixteen years ago in college I had a classmate who at the time I would have called a friend. But when we graduated, I fully expected to never see her again. But the Lord brought us back together here in Springfield about five years ago and since that time we have shared the experiences of life that have exposed the qualities of true friendship. I’m grieving with her this week a terrible and tragic loss, and the only thing that makes it sound bearable is knowing that — like me — she has several friends who have been tested and proven to be true and that she knows the Peace that passes all understanding.

Up until about the year 2000, I don’t think I really even started to comprehend how deep a relationship could go between friends. And until 2003 or 2004 I head never really had what I would now call a true friend. There were always the people I liked to talk to or hang out with or play games with or go to concerts with, but friends that I could share even my doubts and fears and sorrows with came much later in life. If you’ve only had “friendly aquaintenances” up until now I would like to encourage you to find a true friend — someone you can be open and honest with, someone you can share life’s ups and downs with, because sooner or later life will hit you broadside with something you can’t handle on your own — and all but your true friends will be gone.