I believe in brotherhood–real spiritual brotherhood. I believe that there is a “friend who sticketh closer than a brother.”
In December of 2007, my very special ten-month romantic relationship with someone was ended, somewhat to my surprise and very much to my disappointment. I had previously been very sure that she and I would go on together through college and very likely marry some day. If you want to hear God’s laughter, though, tell Him your plans. For reasons unknown to me at the time, my girlfriend and I were not allowed to continue our romantic relationship, and it was ended in an especially painful, up-and-down roller-coaster sort of way. I went to several places in my heart after that breakup–to denial, to bitterness and rage, to sadness, to renewed optimism. It was difficult during this time because I was going to these places alone. I had neglected other friendships for ten months–I had invested most of that time into the one relationship which was now being diminished more every day–even the simple friendship part of our relationship was drifting away quickly.
A few weeks into the new year, however, brought renewal to my spirits. I learned that my previous love’s roommate had also broken up with her boyfriend recently. I had known him and talked with him before, but I had no idea that we were about to become very close friends. We began talking and sharing our situations with each other, finding out that they were similar in more ways than they were dissimilar. We found that we had nearly identical spiritual beliefs, and we began attending many different church functions together. We have learned much from each other and have both realized that brotherhood–especially brotherhood within God’s family–is one of the most important aspects of a Christian believer’s life, and should never be sacrificed for any one other relationship. We knew why we both had been allowed to suffer such painful love situations, and we knew that it was to our ultimate benefit, knowing that our living God “works all things together for the good of those who love Him.” Since our breakups we have both become closer to God and have shifted, or at least renewed, our perspectives on our life values.
Since beginning our friendship we have grown close to each other as well, each of us often reminding the other that he is “just like a brother” to him. We share our laughter and our mourning, we take notes from each other’s spiritual walk with our prophetically confirmed and life-changing Lord, and we simply support each other by listening and sympathizing. We also have both made many other new friends during this beginning of the new year, never forgetting that we have both been called to go out and serve others and build relationships with many people.
Through our trials, we have learned much about ourselves, much about the fact that it is good that we are not in ultimate control of our lives, and most of all, we have learned how large of a blessing is the opportunity for spiritual brotherhood.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.