Saturday, May 20, 2017
Worth Fighting For
Friendship is one of the greatest gifts on this earth. Whether you're casual friends who only talk a couple times a year or see each other now and then at church or school functions, good friends who talk more frequently and hang out often, or best friends who talk to each other every single day- telling each other everything- and can't live without each other, there is a tangible magic in friendship.
But friendships are also hard. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something... or delusional. Relationships require WORK. Period.
‘There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for,’ says Samwise Gamgee, on the way to Mount Doom. I’m not going to analyze their friendship today, that’s for another post. But, just take a moment and think about his words and apply them to friendships specifically.
As humans in a fallen world, we’re messed up. It’s a fact. But, part of who we are as humans means we’re supposed to be interdependent on each other. (Stars, isn’t THAT hard for some of us.) God wants relationships with His people, sure, but He also created us to have relationships with each other.
There’s no crystal ball that we can look into as a child and know what people to befriend and whom to avoid. It doesn’t work like that. Relationships are growing things.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, what your gender is, or your religious/political affiliation. While all of these things can and do affect friendship, at its core, friendship is simply two people realizing that the road ahead is better or more fun when walked together instead of alone. You might meet someone when you’re younger and you remain friends throughout your life. Others come and go. You might know someone for ten years and then find out that you’ve grown into such different people that you drift apart.
When you become friends with someone, there is you, them, and your dynamic together- it's a three-part relationship, not two-part. And sometimes, parts one and two outgrow part three. It happens. Sometimes they become incompatible for other reasons. Fights and conflicts happen and sometimes friendships don’t survive those.
When you find those friends that truly ‘get you’ and you know you want to keep them for a long, long time, and you believe that it's possible to keep them for a long time- you two are that compatible- it’s not enough to just say ‘I like you, let’s be best friends forever’ or whatever kids these days say (hey, I grew up in the 90s). You still have to work for it and at it.
But those are the friendships that are worth fighting for- through conflict, and different outlooks on life, and disagreeing on other people and their place/s in the lives of one of you. Times when one or both of you is so busy that you can’t talk much or hang out, times when you’re both so happy that you might not be paying attention to details much and unintentionally don't include the other person as much, meaning you need to be reminded that they are feeling left out. Big things, little things, things that are a big deal to one but a little deal to the other, changing viewpoints, changing circumstances, and other friends that come and go for each of you.
You’ll have days of sailing so smoothly that you feel like you’re flying. You’ll have beautiful blue skies and clear water and a swift breeze to fill your sails. But you’re also going to go through rough times. You’re going to hit whitewater rapids and sandbars. You’re going to feel like you’re sinking, to wonder if you’ll ever breathe air again.
The trick is to not let go when you hit those rough spots. To fight for each other. To dig your heels in and say, 'I don’t care HOW LONG this takes, I’m not leaving. We’re darn well going to figure this out.' No matter what life throws at you, you're stronger together than apart, and THAT'S what makes it worth fighting for.
And yes, sometimes it’s hard to know when you’re fighting for someone who doesn’t deserve it, who doesn’t really CARE because they don’t fight for you. Sometimes you have to fight longer and harder because the other person really does have walls that need to come down but they need you to believe in them first, they’re too wounded and broken and have locked themselves away too well. They need your help coming out. But other times, people don’t really care. They don’t fight for you because they are using you. Or you don’t really matter all that much to them.
It can be a fine line between the two. Sometimes you get it wrong- you leave someone you should have stuck next to, or you stay with someone you should have left.
But we’re all human. We all make mistakes. We all mess up.
Just try your best to make sure that your friendship is worth fighting for. Then give it all you’ve got.