Before my first day of preschool, my parents gave me a pep-talk. They wanted to make sure that I knew how to engage with all of the other students in the class. So they instructed me to use the following question, “Hello, my name is Catie. Will you be my friend?”
Those exact words were how my parents prepared me for my first day of preschool.
They could have reminded me to obey my teacher.
They could have told me to chew with my mouth closed during snack time.
They could have figured out how to style my short bob haircut so that I looked less like a boy.
They could have done a lot of other things to prepare me for my first day of preschool, but they told me how to make a friend.
I like to believe it’s because my parents knew that friendship mattered more than obedience, manners and a haircut.
It mattered more then to four year-old Catie and it matters more now to twenty-six year-old Caitlin.
Friendship matters because we desperately need companionship as we navigate life through its highs and lows. Friendship matters to us as individuals, to us in communities and to our Creator God.
In a culture that is increasingly individualistic, it can be easy to believe the lie that you can go at it alone. That no one will truly understand you. That your career alone is enough to satisfy you. Be careful, though, because this lie can and will ruin you. You will walk deep into isolation.
We were never intended to walk this life on our own.
That is why in the Garden of Eden, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone,” and He created Eve. Yes, as a marriage relationship, but for companionship. Our Creator God saw it fit to make a person to save Adam from loneliness, and to partner with Adam throughout his life.
The need for friendship is not a sign of weakness. In fact, before anything in the world had been broken, Adam still needed a person. Needing people is not a result of brokenness, but a part of a perfect world.
It seems fitting that we would be tempted to walk life alone, since we’re often tempted to do things exactly the opposite of what God wanted. God intended us to walk it in companionship. To be truly known by someone. He knew this was the best way for us. He knew being alone was dangerous, destructive, deadly; so He created us for each other.
We can demonstrate God’s love to a watching world through our friendships. The way I love those closest to me should be my greatest witness to others. Yes, how I rise up for those who I don’t know and have nothing to offer me in return is so very important, but daily have the opportunity to love my people, and to let myself be loved by them in return.
Companionship saves us from loneliness. Relationships fill a space in our lives and our hearts that cannot be filled by careers, possessions or recognition. Friendship also draws our eyes to a world that will be made right.