I've been thinkin' lots about friendship lately.
What it is, what are fair expectations, what are the obstacles to it, what it should look like in this season of little ones and within the context of the vocation of marriage.
Friendship can be a good and holy thing. Our friends can draw us to Christ. They can help us realize our full potential. They can cheer us on in our successes and be our support and crutch in our pain.
This post sponsored by St. Thomas Aquinas, whose feast day it is today.
He thought it was pretty important.
So does Scripture.
They can be, should be, an opportunity for holiness.
And that, I think, is why the evil one attacks it so hard.
Do you think so?
I don't have many answers to it all. There are so many different kinds and levels of friendship, too, of course. There are the acquaintances and the shallower friends. There are the friends with whom you can have only certain conversations. There are the ones that are fun but lack depth, the ones you only speak to occasionally, and then there are the ones that last. They are thicker than blood or distance or death. They know you as well as, if not better than, you know yourself and will defend you to the end. These are the ones who will be there no matter what when the mask is dropped and your heart bleeds, giving what Scripture calls "life-saving medicine" and helping bind the deepest wounds of our hearts.
I'm kinda curious what other women's experience is with friendship, especially women who are in the same state of life. My gut and other people are telling me that there is a void here. That there are lots of people, men and women, walking around quite lonely. Do you feel happy with this dimension of your life? Do you have that kind of good and holy friendship or do you feel the void sharply? Do you feel like the friendships you do have are quality ones? Deep? Shallow? Too challenging? Pure? Or maybe you just feel like they're impossible given your current state in life?
Then there's the question of how social media plays into it - whether it deepens friendship, makes it more frequent yet shallower, or more likely, either, depending on how we use it.
I've also been ruminating on what makes a true friend:
Exclusivity (not that you can't have other friends, of course, but knowing that you have a unique relationship with this person)
And the things that kill friendship:
Fear of vulnerability
What I call "The Vibe" (i.e. nothing has happened but something is just…off. Sometimes I think this is where the evil one loves to play.)
I'm wondering what your needs are for friendship and whether you believe that they're being fulfilled. If they're not, why? If they are, what is it about them that you value most?
I think sometimes we women are afraid of friendship. Afraid of the ways it makes us vulnerable. Afraid that it will somehow "take away" from our vocation. Afraid that we will be hurt yet again. But the Lord desires good and holy friendships for us (unless, of course, you're called to the hermitage…none of those hanging out here, I presume). It is a gift from Him to share this life with others…we are made for communion after all, not only with Him but with those around us.
I've learned not to be afraid to pray for the gift of holy friendship for it's growth and when we are given the gift, for its protection. It's not silly or trivial or immature or somehow selfish to desire good and true friendship. It's a holy and beautiful gift from Him.
St. Thomas Aquinas, please pray for us that we may be blessed with good and holy friendships.
I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Want to share?
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