Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Our Need for Real Friendship

I've been reading in 1 Samuel recently. There are a couple of chapters that I think show us a vitally important part of life for all of us. 1 Samuel 19 & 20 reveal the depth of friendship that David and Jonathan had.

These chapters take place at a time when David's life is threatened by King Saul, Jonathan's father. At the start of these two chapters David is still present in Saul's service, by they end with David running for his life. Throughout David and Jonathan's interactions, you see the depth of their friendship.

At first, Jonathan didn't want to believe that his father wanted to kill David, so he set out to find out the truth for both of them. When Jonathan did learn that his father really did want to kill David, he said his tearful good-bye to David and sent him away. The tears that both David and Jonathan cried revealed how much they cared for each other. They didn't know when or if they would see each other again when they said this good-bye.

When I look at David and Jonathan's friendship, I see something that I think we need more of in our lives today. We're constantly connected through our phones and social media, but we've lost the real connection with people that we need. We're lonely despite this seeming constant connection.

I think what we're missing is the depth of friendship that we see in David and Jonathan. Most, if not all of our connections, are only at a surface level. We manage what others see, but that keeps everyone at a distance.

I think Brene Brown explains the issue well in her book, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone.
"We experience loneliness when we feel disconnected. Maybe we've been pushed to the outside of a group that we value, or maybe we're lacking a sense of belonging. At the hear of loneliness is the absence of meaningful social interaction."
We need people in our lives who we care about and who care about us. And to care about one another we have to allow people past our carefully managed social media personas. We have to be willing to be vulnerable and let people in.

To Quote Brene Brown again:
"To combat loneliness, we must first learn to identify it and to have the courage to see that experience as a warning sign. Our response to that warning sign should be to find connection."
And we're only going to have those people to find connection with if we do the work of finding people we can learn to trust. We need friends like David and Jonathan were for each other. Friends we have fun and laugh with. And friends we can cry with and share the hard parts of life as well.

How are you doing at developing real connections with people? The kind of connections that combat loneliness?

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