You like books?
I like books too!
We should probably be friends!
While I love to read and think it’s an important life investment, most of my closest friends aren’t exactly readers. I mean, they're not illiterate or anything.... And of course, we have a few other shared interests--our faith being a primary one. But honestly, I've found that unless you’re a little kid, shared interests aren’t necessarily the primary requisite to friendship. That’s because of all of the ways to make friends that I’ve mentioned over the past few weeks, all of them center on this: tangling your lives together.
Some call this shared experience. Others call it living in community.
I call it friendship.
The people I’ve become closest to over the years are ones that, at some point, I’ve lived life beside. We've gone to church together, worked out together, wrecked our diets together, pranked each other, helped out during times of (sometimes self-inflicted) disaster, traveled together, watched each other’s kids during family emergencies (well, I've watched their kids), and held each other accountable in every way that we can.
We've eaten meals at a shared table and enjoyed each other's embarrassing moments and laughed with/at each other. We've been there to point out spinach stuck in teeth and kept track of whose jeans fit better this month than they did last month. (Okay, maybe nobody keeps track of that, exactly. But you know what I mean.)
We're not just "church friends" or "gym friends" or "book club friends" or "choir friends," but real, whole friends: people who are involved in each other's entire lives--who see the good, the bad, the mundane, and even the weird bits that we try to keep brushed to the side.
Although friendship may initially be sparked by a common interest, real companionship transcends such trivial matters and finds its root in richer soil: in experience, trust, principle, affection, accountability, and the open exchange of ideas.
In that last respect, having friends with whom you share disparate interests actually becomes a boon.
Ask me how I know anything at all about dressage, Brazilian jiu jitsu, or running. How I learned a few things (perhaps a very few things) about pop culture and nutrition and the health benefits of dead lifting.
How I must continually face the reality of what a foolish person I can be sometimes and how much I am in need guidance and spiritual accountability.
How my soul has been enriched, blessed, and refreshed.
It's all down to friendship.
* * * *
Now brew some coffee (or organic tea, if you're the type) and take a half an hour to listen to this challenging talk on the value of Christian friendship: