As I was walking down Memory Lane over the weekend, I was thinking a lot about friendships and what makes a friend a friend. FRIEND. DO YOU HAVE FRIENDS IN FRANCE? Sorry for the Better Off Dead interruption. Anyway, I remember back to elementary school, when I desperately wanted a "best friend." I thought that I had to have one specific best friend or else something was wrong with me. So what that Darrell and Jeremy and I were inseperable. Of course, the week I decided that I had to have one best friend, Darrell and Jeremy just happened to be best friends, so I felt left out.
In middle school, David came along, and on the first day of school, I found out we were in class together. I knew him from soccer, and so we started talking. "Are you going out for Cross-Country?" "Yeah." "Me too." That was all it took, and we were best friends. His parents became my second parents, and, well, I remember one time when he and my sister didn't fight. That friendship was originally based on proximity and common interest.
Then there was Devin, who I couldn't stand when we were kids. I don't know what happened or when, but maybe it was one of our retreats or the fact that our youth group dwindled, but all of a sudden I realized that Devin and I were great friends. Our friendship came mostly at church, but later we would hang out on other days. I could write a novel about all the crazy stuff Devin and I used to do.
Through college, my best friends were Garrick, Alan, and Drew, and that should be easy to figure out why -- living in a fraternity house together means we always hung out together. I don't think I would necessarily have chosen a trombone player with a mullet, a Jew with a fro, and a clean-cut basketball player as my best friends, but they were. Living in the frat house made making friends easy.
In seminary, my friends were mostly people I played sports with. Chad and I bonded (in a kind of Beavis and Butthead way) on our first day of Greek class. We both found that dreaded class pretty easy (and each got an "A" for our lack of effort). Then on the soccer field and in the weight room, we got to be great friends. I met Nate across the street, and our friendship grew as we ran together every day. Jeff and Donna became our friends in small group (and often, in the conversations that carried over past our ending time). We could always go over and hang out with them. After all, "Jeff and Donna are always home."
I think I was mulling this over because has become more difficult to make friends. In Kentucky, it felt impossible. It felt like we were trying to "break in" with the group at church (we weren't successful). It wasn't until we were able to spend a lot of time with a few people that we were great friends. Likewise, in Columbus, we have a lot of people we like (and who like us), but it wasn't until we were able to get to know some in a small group setting that we were able to really make friends with them. When you've shared prayers, and you've read the Bible together and let your guard down, it builds either resentment or friendship.
I think that's what the church is all about.