Defined in Websters dictionary as “affection arising from mutual esteem and good will; friendliness; amity; good will.”
Aristotle described friendship as taking on three forms: “those based on utility, those based on pleasure or delight, and those grounded in virtue.”
Even charming Winnie the Pooh spoke words of wisdom on friendship when he said:“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
As a child, I believed that friendship revolved around sleepovers and stuffed animals. Who would I share my lunch box treats with this week? Who would climb the tallest tree and ride their bike as fast as I could down the winding hill beside me? But when we grow, when we mature and age and the harsh realities of this world knock on our front doors, our views of this world, -and friendship- change. “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.”
I’m not sure when that shifts. I don’t recall a moment when my childhood best friend and I put away our tiny doll clothes and barbie houses. I wish I could relive that last climb in that backyard tree, or swing on that rope just one more time, with the carefree finesse that only childhood allows. But alas. I have put away the childhood things, in preparation for my own children to one day hopefully enjoy for themselves.
Those memories of childhood? They’re equally as important as the moments it took to make them. I carry cherished moments of getting caught outside in the rain. Not caring what store my clothes were from, not wondering when the next shoe might drop, not holding my breath for the next big break. Instead, I find myself in laughter over the birthday parties and cake failures and battle wounds won in the arena of my childhood. I relive the innocence of riding backwards in a station wagon without any seatbelts. I let my mind wander to my best friend of my youth and her infectious smile that holds so much of my childhood joy.
Friendship as an adult? It doesn’t need to change. It parallels our youth in many regards. Laughter is the key component to opening our souls to sweet friendship. Airing our hearts in their fears and pains and heartbreaks, tenderly loving each other in our weakest of moments. Weeping together. Rejoicing with each other in happiness in our seasons of completion and joy. And cheering each other on in encouragement right in the middle of our own messy and wild races.
Friendship is the fiber that binds our souls to one another. How very tenderly we must nurture these bonds and cultivate the soul where genuine love blooms forth. Find your person. Your true friends. Your tribe of people who walk with you into fiery furnaces and hold you through the storms. And someday, when they’re walking into their own trials, you’ll be able to take them by the arm, remind them of their worth, and carry them through their pain. These are the moments where friendship is grown. Not in the sunshine when the flowers are finished and beautiful, but deep down in the darkness of the soil -where the roots go. Plant your friendships in good soil, dear ones. And prepare to watch the beautiful garden of life grow around you.
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