This I Believe

Savannah - Lynchburg, Virginia
Entered on December 6, 2006

I believe in Friendship. Yes, it sounds quite cheesy, but when I ponder the fact that friendship has existed throughout the ages, I must consider that it is vital to humanity. What I mean is that friendship provides something that mankind cannot get elsewhere. I used to be quite a loner just five or so years ago. My only friends were acquaintances and my only true friend was God. I suppose that my solitude was due to my inability to form bonds with my peers on any real level. It seemed that no one had the same values or outlook as I. And so I began to think that I was fine on my own. Not until this year, my first year of college, have I been able to experience the fulfillment that having accountable and honest friends brings.

I imagine that most students entering college are quite intimidated by the new environment and the many changes that inevitably confront them. I too was afraid. I was not so afraid of the difficulty of my classes or of missing my family (my parent’s divorce had made me accustomed to being far from those that I love for long amounts of time), but more, I was afraid of further rejection. I feared not having anyone to run home to when the people around me chose not to accept me. I spent the first few days summing everyone up into categories so that I would not have to get to know them. But there was something different about these students. They cared about me. Not an image I could portray, or if I was willing to bend my standards to be with them. They soon had become people that I could unashamedly call my friends.

Now I thank God every day for them. I thank Him for people that shroud me in acceptance, but are willing to confront me in love when I make a choice that is not correct. I find the thought that says that your friends influence you to be accurate; however, anyone willing to influence you for the worse or to lead you astray is not a true friend to begin with. The word “friend” is tossed around in this culture to such an extent that anyone we met five minutes ago can be considered our friend. The friendship I am referring to is one of encouragement and deep vulnerability. I find a joy in being able to tell these new friends my fears, failures and hurts and know that they will hold onto the things that I tell them with great care. There is such relief in knowing that my struggles are not mine alone and that my victories will not go unnoticed. And so I ask myself, how did I become so fortunate? All of the corny cards about friendship and all of the best friend necklaces suddenly have significance. It does not matter how silly this friendship may seem. I am just grateful for it.