I have been very blessed to have some good friends in my life. My best friends have been in my life for the last few years or so. I can’t imagine it’s always easy being my friend. I belong to a small percentage (around 15%) that has a personality type called HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), which means I am very sensitive to many, if not all things. I have a heightened sense to my senses, and, experience my emotions deeper than the average person. I also know that I have strong opinions, which tend to be fairly progressive, even though I hold to them very loosely and gently, I think. All of this, I can imagine, would not make it easy to be my friend.
I know friendship really mattered to Jesus. You catch statements like “Greater no love than a person who lay his life down for a friend”, and after Jesus revealed to the disciples his father’s business, he called them his friends. Jesus was said to have made friends with the tax collectors and sinners. He also tells us to use our earthly gains to gain new friendships.
I know that few things matter on this earth more than friendship. Friendship is the foundation of a marriage. Augustine once wrote “A friend is someone who knows everything about you and still accepts you.” I have been blessed to have a few of these people in my life. Even deeper, I have come to have a few people when explained by Henri Nouwen can do this for you—
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing, and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
In all honesty, friendship, true friendship, is quite a difficult thing. While it contains, going to movies, playing cards, enjoying a nice non-alcoholic beverage or cigar, it really does contain exposing your soul, surrendering your agenda for theirs and learning to listen, sometimes even more than they’re listening to themselves. Because, good friends fight for each other. Good friends, suffer with each other.