On Friendship

-Justin Mainous, contributing writer

“[Friendship] is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others.” – C. S. Lewis

When I think of my friends, their faces always seem chipped and worn like pieces of shattered glass. I’m sure that this is just my mind’s eye exaggerating certain qualities; however, this image does seem to suit us. You see, friendship is a mosaic: a bunch of broken pieces that come together to make something so beautiful. I’ve always been tempted to believe that I have chosen my friends, that I’ve exercised some impeccably good taste in people, that I found them. Then I realize just how delicate the variables that led to our meetings have been: had I chosen to go out of state for college, had I refused an invitation to a particular church, had I never swallowed my pride—any one of these things could’ve kept our paths from crossing. I feel as if my friends were not found by me, but brought to me.

There are moments when all of us are gathered together, in the heat of laughter or conversation that I’m struck with a strange sense of humility as I wonder how I ever grew so close to people who are so much better than myself. My hope in writing this article is that by taking an introspective look at the friendships that I’ve been given, I may be able to expose some qualities that help you to cultivate good friendships.

One of the first things to remember when positioning yourself to receive a genuine friendship is this: Don’t spend too much time with people that you find absolutely boring. C.S. Lewis once wrote that friendships are born when two people “discover that they have some insight or interest or even taste which others do not share”. Chances are you’re not going to find a deep lasting friendship with a person that you find boring.

I’m always taken aback with the ease by which I see people dispose of one another due to petty offenses and then by the haste in which they question why they don’t have lasting friendships. Friendships are forged on the road, in the long stretches of the journey, and if you throw people to the wayside because of the smallest offenses then you’ll never be able to forge a friendship.

Once you’ve found a person who doesn’t bore you and you can humble yourself enough to get over offenses, you should learn to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable in a friendship allows you to know someone and to be known by that someone. This allows for a deep bedrock to the relationship.

C.S. Lewis defined friendship’s ultimate outcome as “the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others,” and oh, how true that is. So just remember that friendship isn’t about you. When you’re able to look past yourself you’ll find that true identity lies in unity, not in your individuality.


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