I have been thinking on friendship lately: its changing nature, its steadfastness, the roles we play and the love we share. In an episode of I Love Lucy, Lucy and Ethel, in one of those glowing moments, sing a song together that includes the line, “Friendship – it’s the perfect planship.” Vivian Vance and Lucille Ball’s true friendship behind the scenes shines through in their smiles and glow.
I have been incredibly rich and blessed to have such wonderful friends. I would never attempt to name all of those dear ones, but I can share some lessons I have learned so far about what it means to be a true friend and the importance of friendship and how it really is “the perfect planship.”
I have learned that true friends listen well. They listen fully without judgment and with support.
True friends ask difficult questions and challenge us to be our whole authentic selves and to live up to our full potential.
Friends speak up but never say “I told you so” when we have made mistakes we have been warned about.
Friends help us to laugh and to find beauty and goodness even in the middle of pain, whether it’s through telling stories or baking bread.
Friends hold our hands, hug us, and hold us.
Friends dance with us in celebration.
I have had so many of these beautiful moments with friends and more. Friends also come to us when they need us. They know it’s OK to call any time. They speak even when it is difficult for sadness, fear, or anger.
Friends amend and repair when needed.
I love symbols of friendship: key chains with paw prints, those little friendship bracelets we made in elementary school, ceremonies and group hugs and prayers.
Perhaps the most poignant moment of symbolizing friendship came at my and D’s wedding. It was an idea our friends J & V had incorporated into their own ceremony, and ever since I sang at their wedding, I knew I wanted to include this in my ceremony one day.
Near the end of our ceremony, after the homily and the vows, we asked for our friends and family to place flowers around us, forming an eternity symbol while we played “Holy, Holy, Holy” by Sufjan Stevens.
For us, this act symbolized the eternal bond we vowed to one another, our lifelong covenant and commitment. It symbolized our commitment to Christ, and how our Triune God ever rejoices over us with singing, strengthens us, and sustains our marriage. It also symbolized the importance of the support of our community – our friends and family.
In this act of placing the flowers around us, our friends showed their own commitments to love and support our marriage to one another (legal or not.)
Marriage is a beautiful commitment between two people, but it is also a commitment to community and by community. To do life together, to support, and to give and receive – as friends.
As J placed her flower down, she looked me in the eyes and said, “You did this for me. Now I get to do this for you.”
The supportive love of friends is gold. It is the stuff that makes life even sweeter, and the stuff that holds us all together.