Friends. That’s a word that we learned when we were in preschool. If not then, maybe even before that. It was used by our teachers and parents more than anyone else. They would tell us to go make friends with people in our class or neighborhood. They wanted us to have people to play with.
I still remember having lots of friends over to play when I was really little. We would play dress up and fight over who got what boots, and sing songs. At that age, we didn’t really have a care in the world because we were doing what we knew and we didn’t know any better. As we got older, we slowly started to understand more of the truths behind what a friend really is.
I can say that I have been in many groups of friends. Every year of grade school I would be with new people, but then by the next grade, the group would have been warped a bit. People changed a lot because of the influences of those around them. I really started to see that happen starting the beginning of my sixth grade year. A lot of my (what I would have called) “really good friends” fell out and went to hang out with some other people. And from that year on until the end of this past year, I could really see how much people had changed. They had let those around them change who they truly were inside.
From sixth grade on, I hung out with the same group of people. I had a lot of really great friends outside of school, but I was around these people all day everyday. They are all very unique humans in their own way, but I’m not going to lie to you when I say it was hard for me to try and make a solid friendship there. The whole year, I felt that people were changing who they truly were inside for the sake of others and it was honestly hard for me to watch. This particular group of people would hang out a good amount of the time, but I usually chose not to go hang out with them. I personally just wasn’t comfortable being around some of them because of things that had happened before being with them. And that was really hard. It wasn’t hard to say no to going to hang out with them. It was hard to watch some of them turn completely. Them all hanging out together really influenced some of them I feel. And I could tell back at school that they weren’t being themselves.
This wasn’t just this particular group of friends, it seemed to be a lot of people. Watching people completely change their identity to be “in” with a specific group was hard. Also, being in a grade with only 35 girls I saw everyday was hard too. Yes, I had a lot of friends in my grade, but I never really made a really solid friend. That was hard.
And last year more than ever is the year that I really needed one. It was hard enough to keep it all to myself instead of sharing it with someone who could see it too. I feel that I have this ability to vividly see and understand things that are going on around me. Even the smallest of things, I seem to notice. Sometimes that’s a good thing, and it always helps me to learn more about this life and how we should treat others. But other times it’s hard because what I see is people tearing others down and not acting in a manor that’s leading them closer to Him. I had a lot of people that I would talk to about what was happening, and that helped but it wasn’t the same as having someone there too who could see what I was seeing. And maybe not even them seeing that, but them truly being a solid friend.
Again, I have several solid friends but they don’t all live close to me so it makes it hard because I don’t always see them.
One of my good friends just got back from Steubenville along with many others and she told me about how one of the talks they went to was on friends. And how the speaker spoke on how friends are like an elevator. That couldn’t be more true. Friends are either going to lift you up closer to the Kingdom or take you away from the ultimate goal. It’s as simple as that.
Now, there are so many temptations in this world. Those are the kind of temptations that weren’t around when we were little. We didn’t have to worry about many things like we do now, but a major part of that is who we willingly choose to be around. WE GET TO CHOOSE WHO WE ARE AROUND. That’s no one else’s decision to make for us. So at the end of the day, we ultimately are the ones who decide.
I was at camp this weekend and even in one of our bible studies we talked about friends and how it’s never too late to change who you are around. Find those friends who enjoy the same things as you and have the same goal in mind as you. The goal for me is Christ, and I pray that yours is too. Reaching the final destination through His love and sharing His teachings and works to all is so important. The coolest thing is when you find that group of people and you are able to connect through Him and lead each other close to Him. We are called to get to Heaven but it’s not enough just to do that. We have to lead those around us there through our actions as well. It’s not enough to just work for our own good. We spread the love, faith, life, and teaching together. His love is the one who holds us all together in true friendship.
Thank you for being such a wondrous example of what true friendship really is. It is through You we ultimately learn that. Help us to live in your love by our lives and lead those around us to You. We also pray that we are able to find true friendship in those around us and lead each other home to You. Amen.
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Pray for Us.
I have been trying to write this for 5 months now and the words have never come to me completely. They still haven’t. I am not satisfied with this piece and have so much more to say, but I don’t know how. I really felt that I was called to write this today though because someone emailed me and said that “even if what it is is poor and you find no connection, there is always something there.” And that really helped me because I have started to write this several times. You have no idea is was a mess trying to write this. This same person actually writes too and has had this same struggle before so hearing that from her was so comforting and encouraging to just go for it. Maybe sometime I will try and continue more onto this because it seems very unfinished to me.
Also, if I could have your prayers I would be so appreciative. Going into a new school is always a change, but I am only a little worried about one thing. And that is finding A solid friend. Yes, I am open to many, but even one is great. I just need at least one. Two would be so blessed and it just grows from there. I already know a good amount of people from other schools going there which is great but I don’t really know know them all that well, but I will soon. I know that with around 170 people in my grade, it’ll be a little easier to find someone who has the same interests and feels passionate about the same thing and their faith life. I would really appreciate that so much. Know that I am praying for you too.
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