One of my favorite things to do with my childhood best friend is simply sit in the car together, taking turns showing each other our most recent music discoveries. Just this past weekend, I was able to surprise her in South Carolina to celebrate her engagement. As the chaos of the weekend drew to a close, we woke up before the sun rose to get me to the airport. We climbed into the same blue Forerunner we jumped in and out of as kids and settled into our seats, wiping the sleep from our eyes. Our GPS app took us on the longer scenic route, and we sat there in comfortable silence for most of the 45-minute drive, looking out the window at the winding roads around us and taking turns showing each other our new favorite songs. It felt like the silence communicated more about the depth of our friendship than words really could. There was celebration, comfort, and rest found simply in each other's presence.
This moment got me thinking about a couple of things. It reminded me that all the meaningful friendships in my life have similar practices -- mundane habits that simply require presence; shared activities that we enjoy doing together or places we are eager to explore alongside one another. And it reminded me that specific physical spaces have played an important part in the creation of deep and lasting friendships.
As I was reflecting on these spaces, I was struck with the tension between the necessity of vulnerability and its counterpart—the simple, seemingly boring moments of life. Deep, intimate friendships are made up of both. There is a balance in being known truly— sharing in the difficult parts of life, leaning on one another in times of grief, and living out the daily tasks of life. In my time at Biola, I have heard people touch on the centrality of vulnerability and intentionality in friendships more than I’d like to count. These things are important. But they are not the only important part of forming and maintaining relationships. We need both to cultivate and sustain deep friendships.
I am reminded of our ultimate friend, Jesus. Throughout the time he spent with his disciples, he spoke to the depths of their souls and sought to comfort them in times of trouble, but he also sat and ate with them. He talked about their lives, how they were doing, what they wanted to eat for dinner, what their last fishing trip looked like. He laughed with them, he walked with them, and he simply lived life with them. He sat in comfortable silence with his disciples from time to time, delighting in the mundane moments of his creation. He was vulnerable and insightful, but he also rested in the presence of his friends.
We see here that Jesus pursued intimate relationships, but he didn’t just dwell in the spaces of vulnerability, he also dwelt in the commonplace of these relationships too. We get the privilege of modeling our relationships after this and what a beautiful thing it is to follow after Jesus in being a friend that dwells in the tension between both.