the friendship continuum

4 March 2008 § Leave a comment

“We can be friends if you want to
There’s a friendship waiting to be…”
–Jason Upton, “Beautiful People”

We, as humans, were created for community. The evidence is everywhere, including Scripture. God, as a triune being, is community (i suppose i’m equating it to love); and this sweet fellowship, this sharing in life together, is probably the greatest gift He has given to mankind. Friendship can be difficult, too. One has to work, to invest, to pursue and put effort into friendships, or they peter out. Quality of life is determined by the quality of connection with others.

Every once in a while, however, it is extremely obvious that something is different. Have you ever met someone for the first time, asked them about their heart, or their thoughts, and every word they say could have come out of your own mouth? You may not have much else in common, but processes of mind and heart. It’s almost impossible to express in words the deep connection and utter excitement that you feel. Your mind races to find ways to make them understand, “ME TOO! Same same!” Sometimes it feels awkward, because you don’t want them to think you’re just trying to be cool and relate to them by saying “Me too” to everything they say (point brought up by Evan King).When i met Jessie Elledge in the summer of 2004, it was the first time i had experienced this incredibly immediate bond, and it set my philosophizing wheels a-turning. I labeled it the Dear Friend Phenomenon.

Well, there must be an opposite sort of friend, i thought, and so there is. It’s the sort of friend that you share experiences with, and that you grow closer with over time. It is true that the Lord knits your hearts together, but it takes time; perhaps you have more in common. This sort of friend i call a Close Friend. I also realized that there were varying degrees; that it was more of a continuum, Dear at one end and Close at the other. There are definitely those in between; you feel quickly connected with them, but as time goes on you discover this more and more (example for me: Lindi Phillips).

As i shared my hypothesis with Jessie, and as we have become closer (if possible), we have been able to add more evidence to the case. When she went away to Bible school for a year, she remarked to me that her dearest friends were her closest friends there. The people she felt immediatly connected with were the people she spent time with. I experienced this, too, when i did my DTS. We decided that this was a result of such close, intense community, and perhaps did not apply to our continuum.

Friends are wonderful, on or off such a scientific scale. I’d love to be a better one. In any event, community is life. I’m thankful for that.

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