Friend of the JG Arakawa wishes that friendship were more understood and valued.
Here’s a taste:
Friendship is probably the least defended relation there is — I’ve encountered only one person arguing for it in the Christian perspective. It is an excellent article.
But no one knows quite what friendship is, let alone how to justify its existence.
Maybe it’s my American upbringing, but I’m bad at friendship. When I move on from a project or a time in life, I lose contact with and most interest in my friends. That’s true of my high school friends, my college friends, my mission friends, my South Bend friends, and my friends from the places I’ve worked before this. If we happen to re-meet, nervously, the friendship comes back to life like a pilot light touching off all the burners on a gas heater. But otherwise the friendship is dormant. I just don’t have much in the way of friendships; very few grown/married American men that I know do either. My closest friends are probably my dad and my brothers and my brothers-in-law (I like, love, and bump along pretty well with my mother, my sisters, and my sisters-in-law, but somehow the relationship seems different than friendship. I can’t explain how). Apart from those family friendships and my current work friendships, the closest friends I have may be you folks. But we haven’t met in the flesh or leaned over a fence together–we’ve never eaten together in our homes either–so our friendship is necessarily attenuated.
Worse, I don’t understand what friendship is. I have a vague notion that among men at least its mutual liking in the service of mutal goals, which is why so often it takes an institutional form and withers with the institution. Maybe friendship is mutual aid coupled with mutual liking, and the closer the friends the less strict the accounting is the mutuality of the aid? I just don’t know.
Which is shocking, because friendship is the earthly model of the relationship with Him that God intends. See John 15:15, or D&C 84:63, D&C 84:77 and 93:45. Friendship may be the natural end of a grown son to his father.