BRADY COLUMN: The power of friendship

Published 9:30 am Saturday, October 1, 2022

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A few nights ago my wife and I were in another city to watch our granddaughter be recognized as one of six graduating seniors on her high school volleyball team. In addition, we saw her team beat another team three sets to none. And, of course, modesty prevents me from telling you how well our granddaughter played. I was impressed at the recognition time for the six graduating seniors. The announcer presented the players one at a time, escorted by parents, told of and repeated their favorite Bible verse, mentioned their grade point average, spoke of their future plans and shared their appreciation for their friendships and the joy of being on the team with their friends. While the entire evening was enjoyable, it was the word “friendship” that lodged in my mind. It was so obvious the closeness of the team, and I already knew that my granddaughter’s two best friends were also team members. I was remembering an article I read back that suggested that intimate friends are rare in life. Often, we have only one, occasionally two … usually not more than three in our entire lives. There’s something about an intimate friend that causes our souls to be knit together. We are kindred spirits.” Hear me now! Friendship is not any less important than prayers and fasting. Like the sacrament, it takes what is common in human experience and turns it into something holy.

In this article, I just want to mention a few things about friendship.

First, friendship is a gift (a treasure). The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once described friendship as a “a sheltering tree.” What a beautiful picture of a friend. A friend is like a leafy tree that provides shade from the sun and protection against the cold blasts of winter’s loneliness. A friend is indeed “a sheltering tree.” 

Second, friendship looks beyond the surface! Someone enters our life who is different. This person is beyond self-interest, doesn’t need to use us and takes the time to get to know us. 

Third, friendship requires work and effort! To maintain a friendship requires work and effort and not just contact. And more often than not, such work and effort are found in little things-little courtesies and kindnesses, little remembrances and so forth. In the breakdown of a marriage how often do we hear, “He stopped courting me” or “She neglected me” or “We took each other for granted.”

So with marriage! So with friendship! The writer of Proverbs states, “A person that has friends must show himself [herself] friendly.” (Proverbs 18:24 KJV).