With a friend like me, why would you want to jump off a cliff??
There’s something heartwarming about friendship. That sweet camaraderie among those whom you’ve known the longest, the ones who’ve you can count on anytime of the day, and yes, those ones whom we just love to hang around with, no matter what age. We know that love is what binds friendship together, and that God is Love itself. We’ve seen many scenarios that teach us valuable facets of it, for example, in the media that so often effects us today, good ways, and pretty awful ways. But do we really know that it’s also a facet of a vocation to holiness?
In Toy Story 3, the toys are being called to a special kind of calling; the vocation of being present. They know at times, that even though they may never be played with again; just being there for their owner in good times and bad, strengthen their friendship more than ever. Lord of the Rings, I think, is all about loyalty and responsibility. As a friend, we are entitled to a responsibility and loyalty that goes beyond measure, but it acts on both our parts – Frodo and Sam are the best examples. In those desperate situations, many friends are promoted to family, and our responsibility and loyalty rises to that of a sibling. The Soloist teaches yet another valuable lesson that is often concealed. We can provide happiness, beauty, and everything they have ever dreamed of, but we cannot do everything. We may able to change their heart, with God’s grace, but we cannot change who they are. In the movie, Nathaniel suffers from schizophrenia; his friend Steve does everything he can to help him, but blames himself that he cannot solve the real problem. We can’t fix them into the way we want. Only God can do that. And those are the precious moments that God calls us to be in – just to be there for a friend is the best you can do – and let God do the rest.
There are way too many examples I can give that show the beauty of friendship. I chose these three, mainly because they have taught me a valuable lesson that gave an impact on my life. It may be a little strange to focus on that area, but if you know me pretty well (I tend to be a little too nice sometimes :P), it’d make sense. And maybe you’re like that, too. I don’t think of myself as a reliable and responsible teenager that everyone can count on. And not in the way you might think! Yes, I strive to clean up my room, make my bed, cook lots of desserts for my family, and stay constant in my faith, but when it comes to reaching out to someone, a friend or sibling, maybe, I find myself wavering over the decision to help or not a little too long. No, I’m not cold-hearted like that, it’s just that it takes a while for me to trust in God and remember that I should just be an instrument of his Love, not the one playing it. But that’s responsibility. Being there and reaching out to those in need – because in Christ’s eyes, we are all brothers and sisters. How could stand by and wait for them to come sobbing at our laps?
It’s that leap of faith, and that moment when friends get promoted to family, and you find/see yourself a little more clearly, too. If you don’t, it’s gonna be pretty lonely, for your friend, and for yourself, too. I know, it's scary. But don't forget that God is our Friend too, and He won't let us down!
We also must remember we are JUST God’s instrument. We don’t take charge, just take hope and know that God’s taking care of it, through you. I had a hard time accepting that. Not too long ago, I was driving myself nuts over a friend who was feeling broken – I felt really awful that I couldn’t heal whatever was wrong. I blamed myself for failing; it made myself miserable and made me want to give up. But God didn’t give up on either of us. Through the movie ‘The Soloist’ (and some reflection after seeing the film), I was able to understand a little bit more, and remember that I’m human. Duh! I can’t do everything – I can do everything I CAN, but I can’t do the impossible. Only God can. It was those moments when I was there for my friend, that God used to heal whatever was broken. Just being there may be the best thing you can do, like those toys, or the way Frodo and Sam portrayed it. I was only holding my friend’s heart together, while, not I, but God was healing it. And that experience taught me a lot that still deserves some more thinking.
So yes, true friendship is a facet of vocation to holiness. It’s through them that we feel God, and allow God to work through us. And you can never ever ever have too many friends; it’s like food. (No, no, don’t eat your friends!!) You need to eat, and you’ve got your favorites, but you can’t ignore the healthy stuff. And of course, there’s no harm in trying new food. Who knows? Might just end up as one of your favorites, too.
Love, responsibility, and loyalty. Three voices that combine to make one glorious hymn. Can you guess which one sings the melody?
“Friendship isn’t about whom you’ve known the longest. It’s about who came, and didn’t leave your side.”
So, if you’re happy, I’m happy. If you’re sad, I’m sad. You jump off a cliff…
And you can be sure that I’ll be at the bottom to catch you! :)