What is Love of Friendship?
(What is love? But specifically within a friendship.
You can talk about it in any way you would like)
Sooo…last week I was mentally preparing a post continuing my rah-rah men-and-women-should-be-friends cheer. And then Sunday night happened. There is a friend. A boy. And he just told me something that makes my alluded-to challenge moot. This is one of those things that I really don’t think I should post publicly. Plus, I’ve still got this on repeat (lyrics NSFW). But the past 36 hours have really shown me the love within female-female friendships. God, my girls are great.
You see, God designed women to have emotional intuition, tender hearts, and all the fierceness of a mama bear. When women are together, we are not encumbered by the same social rules and cues as we are when we’re with men. There are no pretenses when it comes to hugs; no motivations behind light touches on the shoulder or arm; no wild and racing thoughts and heartbeats when you’re snuggled up together in cozy winter lounge things watching a movie. So it is easier for us to develop storge, the affective love C.S. Lewis writes about. Wikipedia calls storge the desire to care compassionately for one another. Storge leads to your work friend, practically your mom’s age, giving you a soft, warm hug at lunch because you are 1500 miles from your own mommy. Or your best girlfriends–one an ocean away, one a continent away–staying up with you till the wee smas allowing you to process. And like all mama bears, get all irate about the person who dared to threaten her dear ones.
In friendship you also have the philos (of course). But it is so much more than standing side by side, seeing the same. Philos is the love you choose. So when you have not talked to some friends in a while, or the relationship has shifted a little as you grow apart as you grow up, there’s still love when they consciously choose to maintain ties. And then when you say you really need to talk to them and ask a favor, you’re the first thing on their post-work to-do list. And no questions asked, no equivocations, favor is done.
Finally, in the best of friendships, you have dying to self for the sake of the other. This type of love is really hard to come across, and can take a long time to develop. And it’s actually the one you hope your friend doesn’t have for you, but the kind you hope you have for your friend. Because for a friend to do that for you means they are in pain themselves, and you’re trying to will their good, which we think means no pain. This love is not ever selfish, but selfless. Sometimes it can take God’s grace to not only be capable of this type of love, but to humbly accept the gift when it is offered. I don’t really have an example of when I’ve gotten agape love from a friend. It is to staggering, and my little heart cannot bear any more weight in this particular season.
But it takes receiving love to make the heart stronger. And I am so blessed to be getting some now.