The subject of friendship has been on my mind a lot lately. Missing my old friends, looking forward to make new ones, hoping my children will find true ones.
Friendship is a powerful thing and there is no question, for those who have been reading my blog for a while, how good friends have impacted my life.
I am pretty sure that God gives us friends, like family, to help us through this life. Which, let’s all face it, is downright horrible sometimes.
Today in Relief Society we discussed this topic that has been on my mind for the last few weeks, and I found my heart and mind flooded with many thoughts about my friends; old, new and yet-to-come.
For those of you unfamiliar with Mormon History, Joseph Smith was instrumental in the gospel being restored and in officially organizing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. There were a lot of people who didn’t like the Mormon’s (as we were nicknamed) and MANY more hated Joseph Smith and sought to destroy him. Horribly, sought to destroy him.
And there were times that Joseph’s friends buoyed him up. Strengthened him.
The lesson, taken from the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, discussed how wonderful good friends are. It spoke of the necessity of friends sustaining us in our trials, and we likewise, sustaining our friends. There were tender accounts of people close to the Prophet Joseph being a true friend to him.
My thoughts turned to our Dear Savior, Jesus Christ. He who was the Truest Friend of all. He who gave all He had for his friends. Those He loved. And my mind was taken back to this talk by Jeffery R Holland; None Were With Him.
Elder Holland says in regards to the Savior’s last few days, “Thus, of divine necessity, the supporting circle around Jesus gets smaller and smaller and smaller…” Our Savior knew what it was like to be friendless. He felt the painful loneliness of being without that support of Friendship.
Consequently, He understood what it was like for Job to lose his family and friends. He understood the pain Joseph Smith felt when some of his dear friends betrayed him. And He knows what it is like for someone to be lonely. He knows what it is like for a teen-aged boy to leave the comfort and love of many friends to move with his family somewhere utterly unknown.
He knows this. To be friendless. To cry bitter tears of solitude. To be lonely.
And because He knows this, He knows how much we all need friends (and family) to help us get from Point A to Point B. He knows what it is like to be judged, misunderstood, gossiped about and hurt. Because He knows this, He doesn’t want us to experience it if possible. So He asks us to be good Friends, to emulate His life. To show others the kindness and understanding that He showed for fellow man.
I looked around today during the Relief Society Lesson at all the women around me. People I don’t know or am just beginning to know and I felt grateful for the Gospel of Christ that unified us in spirit. I wondered who, in a year or so, would I be close friends with. I felt so comforted by my smiling new friends on either side of me. I am pretty sure they were completely unaware of how much I felt wrapped in the warm blanket of friendship just because they chose to sit by me. Although I barely know them, I felt a small sustaining influence with just their presence.
I realized, then, that is how it is supposed to work. We are supposed to give that little sustaining influence to those around us. Being friends. Overlooking shortcomings. Loving each other as our Dear Savior would love us.
My life has ever been changed by my dear, dear friends, whom I miss terribly. I think often on the examples they left for me and how they made me a better person. And, as I tiptoe forward into new social territory, I relish the thought of making new friends. True, dear friends. I hope and pray that my sweet children will make true and lasting friends. Ones who are fiercely loyal to the Lord and to them.
When we are friends, we gain friends. When we gain friends, we are better friends. I love it.
Friendship is just beautiful.