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Made for Friendship

Old Man’s Cave, Hocking Hills, Ohio

Have you ever been to Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills, Ohio? My husband and I visited a while back with some friends. It’s stunningly beautiful. Full of green moss, rocks, beautiful waterfalls and cavelike formations. It’s full of character. It’s beautiful, but lonely. (Even though there were hundreds of people visiting the park, I somehow managed to get a photo without one person in it!)

It’s said that a hermit, Richard Rowe, lived alone in this place. The introvert in me thinks it would be wonderful sometimes to live in solitude without all the noise of the world. But after a year like this last one, I’m sure I’d crave some company and conversation. I imagine this old man talked to his animals and himself, or God.

God created us to have friendship with Him and with others. In the Bible, in the book of Genesis, Adam was lonely in the garden and asked for companionship. God created a help mate, a woman named Eve.

We all need friends. Being in friendship helps us learn to care for one another. Relationships are hard work, but they are also rewarding. For out of relationships, we produce friendship and love.

2020 has been a year like no other: The Presidential election, COVID, and racial and political unrest have tested many friendships. To mask or not to mask.—Take a side. Our own personal opinions about our beliefs have been ridiculed or dismissed. The media has instilled fear and distrust in just about everything. There is fear over a virus that can be as mild as a cold for most, but deadly for those with weakened immune systems.

I’ve seen people be downright mean and hateful to others. I’ve seen friendships end over silly remarks. Social media has allowed us to say things to people that we would never say to their faces. We have forgotten that people are allowed to have their own opinions.

I recently talked with a woman who grew up in a community in Pittsburgh, PA. In the 40’s & 50’s her community was comprised of people of differing faiths, races, cultures and opinions, But somehow they all managed to live peacefully together. They had respect for each other. Immigrants from foreign lands are what helped to make up this great country of ours. It was the great American melting pot. Now it seems for some reason, the pot is boiling over. What is going on?

I believe it is the lack of Christ in our lives and a focus on fear. How many of us have stopped going to church because of this pandemic? How many of us have stopped helping our neighbor because of fear? We may have stopped congregating together, but most of us have neighbors that we can befriend. Reach out to your neighbor. Let’s care for each other.

We recently had the virus go through our family. My son got married a few weeks ago. Someone at the wedding had it. That was inevitable. Everyone knew the consequences of such a gathering, and some were willing to take the risk. People who were uncomfortable did not attend our masquerade reception.—And that was ok! But as a family, we decided we were still going to go on with life. Tomorrow is promised to no one. We will not fear death, because Jesus is our friend and he gives Eternal Life.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7

Nothing in life is a sure thing, except death. Be fearless. Did you know that the phrase “do not be afraid” appears in the Bible 365 times? That’s a verse for every day of the week! We cannot control everything. Only God can do that. But we can live life in peace and friendship with one another. We can respect each other. That should be our goal.

Old Man’s Cave is a beautiful place to visit, but I sure wouldn’t want to live there —alone.

The good news is my family recovered from COVID. We have made it through our quarantines and now have the antibodies to keep us from getting sick again, for a while.

Let’s get back to being friends. We can respect each other. Let’s get back to caring for one another in friendship and love, despite our differing opinions and all the risks. Let’s focus on friendship with Christ and each other.

God bless.—Barb