Sorry about not starting a new short story on Monday. I can explain.
So I have approximately three friends. I say 'approximately' because I only ever see one of them outside of church. (Have you ever seen that triangle chart that says "Good grades, enough sleep, and a social life: pick two"? You can guess which two I picked.) Anyway, I had a couple days off work this week, and I decided to get together with my good friend and have a Star Trek marathon.
We built a fort in the upstairs loft and watched 8 episodes. We also walked my dog and cooked dinner together. It was amazing.
I recently saw an Instagram post that said something along the lines of "Americans are so obsessed with romance because they think it's the only love they're allowed to have." And you know, that's kind of true. Outside the love of parents for children and vice versa, both of which are sort of deteriorating in today's culture, any sort of affection is frowned upon.
Anyone who knows me knows that I have irrational likings for various things. Hugs, ice cream, instrumental music, hedgehogs, Latin, leather notebooks, sunsets--and books by C.S. Lewis. I've enjoyed his work since I first read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and I have no intention of stopping. Recently, I read his nonfiction book The Four Loves. Did I understand all of it? No. (I had the same problem with The Abolition of Man, but they're still both worth reading.) But I understood the important bits.
Essentially, Lewis says that there are four types of love--affection (like that of parents for children), friendship, romantic love, and Christian love. Of the four, Christian love, he says, is the most important, because it transforms the other three into something even more beautiful. But of Friendship, Lewis has much to say as well. "To the Ancients, Friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves; the crown of life and the school of virtue. The modern world, in comparison, ignores it," he writes.
Our pastors will preach sermons about why it's important to live in community. I'm the type of person who will readily ignore those sermons. I interact with others. I eat lunch with my mom every day before I go to work. I engage in small talk with people at church and snuggle with my family while watching TV in the evenings. But none of those things help me grow as a person.
Those of you who have read Where the Clouds Catch Fire are familiar with Lukas's backstory. He lived in isolation for thirty-nine years--no friends, no family, and very few encounters with strangers. He had only his animals, his books, and his God. Unfortunately, too many of us live in a similar situation. We live in our own little bubbles with smiley faces painted on, posting pictures of avocado toast on Instagram while ignoring the pile of dirty dishes and the baby crying in the background. We smile and say we're fine, how are you, and keep everyone at an arm's length away. I'm guilty of this too. We need friends to whom we can say, "You know, I'm not alright, and I need someone to talk to about it"--or, even better, "I'm doing great, and I need someone to share my joy."
C.S. Lewis says that friendship "has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival." Perhaps, in a world as depressed as the one we live in, a few good friends could help cheer things up a bit.
Who's your best friend? What's your favorite thing to do with them? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to check us out on Amazon!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.