Friendship: A Million Little Things

“Friendship is being able to have the hard conversations and be willing to listen… Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things.”

“… and that’s true for a group of friends from Boston who bonded under unexpected circumstances. Some have achieved success, others are struggling in their careers and relationships, but all of them feel stuck in life. After one of them dies unexpectedly, it’s just the wake-up call the others need to finally start living. Along the way, they discover that friends may be the one thing to save them from themselves.”  (Citytv Synopsis. The show by the same name recently premiered September 26th).

Friendship has been a theme energizing me in the last few years especially as friends my age retire, move away, grasp at a lengthening distance, fall ill, or die. One of the unexpected joys of this stage of my life is to be making friends intergenerationally, and to be receiving friendship like an ever giving gift. It is is vitalizing and invigorating; it provokes me to contemplate the place of friendship along the long arc of our short lives.

The Proverbs tell us:

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity… there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

God the Son, Jesus, is that friend who sticks closer than a brother; his friendship is the relationship that deepens every other friendship. His own example with his closest followers was to articulate the change to the relationship in John 15:15:

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Having secrets made known includes the secret of being fully known as a person. The Apostle Paul writes:

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Sadly, the friends portrayed in A Million Little Things find they are not “fully known”; their secrets threaten to doom them to catastrophic breakdown by the betrayal of what they thought was a profound trust-ship.

Recently Drew Hunter wrote: “You won’t make it alone: Five Reasons You need good Friends.” He begins:

As Australian nurse Bronnie Ware cared for the dying, she heard them express five common regrets again and again. So, what is one of the deepest regrets of the dying? Not prioritizing friendship. On our deathbeds, most of us will wish we connected more often, and more deeply, with friends.

We’re experiencing a friendship famine in our day. As individualism increases, social bonds decrease. And we replace flesh-and-blood relationships with digital illusions of the same. Studies show that Americans have fewer and fewer close friends. Many people don’t feel lonely, but when they stop to think about the depth of their relationships, they often realize that they are more isolated than they thought.

I want to plead with you to live the rest of your days rightly valuing this gift of true friendship. But if we’re going to value friendship as we should, we need to know why it’s so valuable. Why is friendship worth all the effort we can give it?

I suspect his reasons for good friendship are just five among a million little ones (read them here.)  Hunter ends his article with this encouragement:

… What next steps might you take to cultivate deeper friendships? Identify a few people and plan time to get together, such as a weekly rhythm of coffee or lunch. Reach out to a friend you’ve lost regular contact with. Plunge your conversations below the shallows and into the deeper waters of life. Oxygenate your friendships with affirmation and encouragement.

(@drewfhunter) is the author of Made for Friendship: The Relationship That Halves Our Sorrows and Doubles Our Joys. He is also the teaching pastor at Zionsville Fellowship in Zionsville, Indiana, where he lives with his wife, Christina, and their four sons.

What about your friendships?

Here’s to plunging below the shallows, and oxygenating our friendships with affirmation and encouragement.

Thanks to my friend Bob Foo who sent me the Drew Hunter article and who demonstrates many of a million little things of friendship.

About R.H. (Rusty) Foerger

As I enter the third third of life, I am becoming aware of the role of elders today “to enlarge spiritual vision, being devoted to prayer, living in the face of death, as a living curriculum of the Christian life” (Dr. James M. Houston). I am a life long and life wide learner who seeks to: *decipher the enigma of our worth *rescue from the agony of prayerlessness *integrate spiritual friendship.
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6 Responses to Friendship: A Million Little Things

  1. Anita Bacha says:

    Friendship connects two hearts 💕
    Binds two hands
    Uplifts two souls
    ( this is a quote from my book Soul Poetry) in answer to your question) .
    I don’t have many friends. Probably because I am shy and introverted.My only friends are my sons and a young man about the same age as my youngest son. We enjoy reading,blogging and photography.Traveling as well! I am comfortable in their company and in the company of young people.
    I love the things they do and I am inspired by them to write love poems.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about friendship and giving me the chance to write about my friends.
    Have an awesome day!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Friendship really is something of great value. Recently we lost of vital member of our church and it hurt. But also it was so beautiful to hear ALL the wonderful things people had to say about him. He was very present with anyone he has any kind of conversation with.

    In all it had me thinking about what people would say about me when the Lord calls me home. I hope to make an impact on the lives of those around me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What stops you from asking your friends what influence you have on their lives now? After all, you’d probably be able to tell them what impact they have on you. This might be a good place to start: meaningfully telling your friends what each one means to you. I am sure they’d be unspeakably enriched by your words.

      I went to a “pre-funeral” of a person who was dying from pancreatic cancer; she knew she had weeks to live and threw a party, so to speak, to be able to hear her friends last words to her, and of course, to have her last words. It was a profoundly moving evening, but got me thinking about what we say to each other when we are still alive – in fact our need to say deep things while we can.

      Thanks for your note; let’s see what the Lord will do.

      Liked by 1 person

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