“A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter;
he who finds one finds a treasure.
A faithful friend is beyond price,
no sum can balance his worth.
A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy,
such as he who fears God finds;
For he who fears God behaves accordingly,
and his friend will be like himself.” -Sirach 6:14-17
When was the last time you made a quality friend? I mean a true, faithful friend, not just an acquaintance or buddy, but someone you could count on if you really needed someone or something.
When we are little, friends play a monumental role in our social and developmental process. Our friendships help us find out who we are, teach us how to handle social situations, and provide comfort when we discover another person going through the same life events and struggles. A friend is someone whom we know understands us and likes the same things as we do, even when our parents/adults seem to not “get it”.
Teaching our children about friendship is essential. I once read that friendship is like planting a seed you have found. You are not sure what is going to grow, so you need to watch it carefully, tend to it and be very patient. Maybe nothing will grow, even though you give it your best effort or maybe it will grow into an awful weed that you need to pull. If you really look after it, though, and all the conditions are right, it may produce a strong, healthy plant or flower that will continue to grow and get better as time passes.
Now that we are older, it can be difficult to find the time to invest into cultivating a true, faithful friendship. Raising children, managing stressful careers and trying to keep up with the friendships and family we are already devoted to, all demand our time. Not to mention that our priorities in the types of friendships we seek out and the needs in our lives have changed.
Finding a faithful friend, though, is priceless and can cure a lonely heart. These friends become invaluable to us. God desires us to seek them out, to treasure them, for us to find a comfort in them. He wants us to be vulnerable and recognize our need for one another — our need for Him.
So how do we recognize faithful friends? These friends are those who challenge you to become better; who want to enrich your life and live it to the fullest. It’s someone who accepts you for who you are; regardless of all the baggage you may be carrying around or dealing with. Faithful friends are someone you can let your guard down with, open up to and trust completely. They not only know how to resolve conflict, but understand its importance. A true, faithful friend wants you to soar and helps you accomplish your dreams.
True, faithful friends are also the ones trying to better their own lives. Being in the presence of such people is contagious. You tend to feed off one another, like a honey bee and a flower would, helping each other to reach one’s greatest potential. We should not forget that friendship is a two-way street. God puts these people in our lives, but we must be mindful enough to notice them and enrich them as they do the same for us. To develop a true, faithful friendship we must be willing to put the time and energy into cultivating a gift that is incredibly worthy of being treasured and loved.
Thank you God for the gift of friendship. Not only for the friend we have in you, but also for the extraordinary people you put into our lives.
Melanie Sextro is a military wife and mother to two sweet boys. She is a member of St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City.