What does it mean to be a friend based in Christ? Do Christian friends hold each other higher? Do we hold each other accountable? How do these friendships differ from non-Christian based friendships? Do they differ? Is one better than the other?
Oh, Christian Friendship! How difficult to attain sometimes, but how necessary for life to go smoothly! In my opinion, anyway. I’ve been blessed to have many friends in my life, many fantastic friends in fact. I wouldn’t have made it through High School with my faith intact without Stephanie, Erin, and Ashlei. We had an amazing opportunity to meet many friends from around the Diocese at a retreat called “TEC” – to encounter Christ and “JTE” Journey to Emmaus. I was blessed with some amazing experiences with these ladies and couldn’t have made it without them. They were better than any other acquaintances I had during the same time in my life.
Moving on to college, I had friends who were just as great. My college roommate, Julie, was a blessing – we were placed together randomly and it was the best that could have happened to begin my freshman year out right. We met tons of other people, went to Europe and South America, and loved hanging out at Campus Ministry. These people helped to support me in my Catholic Theology degree and know that I wanted to work in the Church, or at least support the Church in my future career.
After school, life became a little more difficult to find friends. I spent 9 months living at home working at a jail and the Lord sent me Elisabeth. She was in town for just a little over a year – we ended up leaving about the same time – I went south and she went west. We are not great friends – picking up wherever we left off each time we talk and it’s glorious.
When moving to Charlotte it took a little more time – well, I thought it did – but when I was celebrating my 30th birthday last month, I realized that some of my friends I’ve known since almost the day I moved here. Lisa (and her brood of kiddos – there were two and one in the oven when we met and now there are five) and I met at Bible Study at our parish one random morning – they had moved here just a month or two earlier. We became fast friends and good friends. She and her husband would bring their boys to Daily Mass so I got to see them a lot. Now all five little ones are so great to me whenever I come over to visit. Then in the Spring I met Devon (before she was engaged, before Shep – my godson – came along, and before the new little girl CEA was even thought of) and we also became fast friends. I was even the reader at her wedding.
I had great friends for a while – great married friends, and not only was I seeking good Catholic friends, but I was also looking for single friends. I love my married friends, and I love their kiddos. I never complain about being interrupted at their house when we’re talking, stopping to read a book, waiting for dinner to begin to make their places child friendly. I love being able to text in the afternoon and say, “I need some baby time, can I come over after work?” But I needed a single girlfriend to help me keep my sanity. So after much time, the Lord sent me Mary Grace – we met within a few weeks of her moving here and became fast friends. I don’t know what I would have done the last four and half years, three living situations, four jobs, and traveling to four continents. The Lord really knew what he was doing when he thought for us to be friends.
The last few years have been filled with great roommates (Meredith and Lisa), new parishioners at the parish who I made into friends (Erica and Kate), connections from Fr. W to encourage me to take a dating leap (Stephanie), nuns who are full of contagious joy (Sr. Gloria and Sr. Edeva), and many more I’m sure I’m forgetting to write – but who are amazing women of faith who support me.
Back to the prompt though – do I think that Christian friendships are important? YES! I think being a good Catholic in this world is hard enough, but without being able to have the Lord at the center of the conversation about what’s going on, it’s almost not worth having the conversation, in my opinion. My life tends to revolve around my faith – which I’m happy about – and without being able to speak about faith and prayer with others, I don’t know what I’d do.
This does not preclude me from making friends with people who have different faiths. I don’t screen people, if that’s what you’re thinking. I’m friends with my family and their significant others – none of who are strong Christians. I would say I have friends at work who aren’t, but that’s not really true right now since I’m working at a parish – most people who work for as little money as we do are there because of their faith, not because the work is great.
I’ve been very privileged my entire life to attend Catholic School and work in the Church. These are the places I’ve met my friends, the ones who have remained great friends all share a common faith, a common foundation. So I’m biased in saying that I think it’s important. I’m not sure my entire life will continue in this fashion, but I do hope to always share my faith with my friends no matter the situation.
Thanks to Jen and Morgan for hosting and providing this amazing group of friends online. I’m so grateful for the entire community! The internet wouldn’t be the same without y’all!