I’ve heard the word friend too many times. I needed another word or phrase, even- some sort of synonym to see what exactly that word means. I needed a definition of words, something separate from the images and names, the situations and memories that sail through my head at the thought of friendship.
My favorite definition came from Merriam-Webster: “a favored companion.”
A favored companion.
So a friend is one that is favored- given special treatment, shown fondness, cherished, held dear- someone who is beloved. A friend is also a companion- someone who shares life with you, walks alongside in the good and the bad and experiences with you.
A favored companion.
A beloved darling who shares and walks life with you.
Yes, I like that definition.
I have lived that definition. I can see the faces that have shouldered my burdens to help me bear the weight. I have seen the fond smiles, heard them in voices carried over telephone wires… have given them myself. I can tell you the stories, of seasons of life shared with others; of time well spent sharing what is on the heart.
Yes, I have favored companions.
They have differing names- names like Bri and Jess, Blair and Lizz, names that may as well be Dear One, Lovely or Beloved- and they have different personalities, different gifts- from giving and teaching to encouragement and refreshing honesty, differing senses of humor and differing ways of time spent with me. Yet by the grace of God, I’ve found friendship with them all. I have come to know them, and they have come to know me. And despite flaws, stubborn actions, hot words spoken thoughtlessly, cranky days and time lost in selfishness, these favored companions have stuck by me. We still live life together, through each changing season.
I’ve seen them end certain chapters of life, like graduations from the gaining of knowledge to using the knowledge gained in the day-to-day of life. I’ve seen them enter into new chapters, like sacred covenants spoken in love while clothed in gowns of white. I’ve heard them in their times of excited revelation, when He’s led them to change direction and move forward. I’ve heard them in times of desperation, of broken hearts and uncertainties. I’ve heard them in times of joy and times of sorrow, seen their lips bubbling in laughter and quivering under the crushing waves of grief. They’ve seen the same from me.
My favored companions are not perfect. They are human, but do such incredible things that leave me so insanely grateful for them. Like the time I went to school after having watched my sister’s limbs flopping without consent on the tile floor because of a fever, and when I managed to utter a halting explanation with tears in my very voice, my friend threw her stack of books on the floor- literally dropped tossed everything to wrap her arms around me. (I can still see the expression on her face when she realized, hear the sounds of the brown-wrapped book landing against the floor, feel that much needed hug.)
Or the time when I wasn’t quite accepted into a group of friends just yet, but was seen as a friend already by one who smiled and spoke to me with care anyway every time we passed. (I will never forget it.)
Or the time I was bone weary and tired and frustrated and taking it out on all the wrong people, but still accepted by a friend who was honest enough to tell me she’d noticed and given me help despite it. (She was the only one to say anything and I value that to this day.)
I remember these moments and many others, and I thank God for these companions, these friends I’ve been given. I thank Him, knowing these mortal ones I hold dear reflect, however minimally, the great Friendship I have in Christ, a favoring and companionship that will never come to an end.
I have favored companions.
I have a Favored Companion.
And I am grateful.