"People who bore one another should meet seldom; people who interest one another, often."
~C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
I love C.S. Lewis. Sometimes I feel like he's my long lost brother, or perhaps my friend Peter. I feel so close to him, that on occassion I call him C.S. But seriously, I think the man is brilliant. I told my friend Ann the other day that I was pretty sure he was the modern day Paul. Naturally she retorted, "Perhaps in the circles you run with." Sometimes I think he is as beloved amongst searching Christians today as Paul was in his day.
Recently I've been reading The Four Loves, which has really made me contemplate how I interact with people. The "four loves" he discusses are: "affection", "friendship", "eros", and "charity". If I was prudent I would read the section on charity before I say anything more, but since I'm young and foolish I'll spout some of my opinions recklessly.
I really like the quote this blog starts with, and I love C.S. Lewis's definition of friendship. He makes a very marked difference between affection/need based friendship and true friendship. Friends, he says, often meet with this typical opening expression, "What? You too? I thought I was the only one." I think this is the reason that whenever I meet someone who is crazy enough to go run before the sun dawns they are my new instant best friend. This shared interest is the true bonding point of friendship.
Another favorite quote corresponds with why it is hard for some people to have true friendships. Lewis writes, "That is why those pathetic people who simply 'want friends' can never make any. The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends. Where the truthful answer to the question Do you see the same truth? would be 'I see nothing and I don't care about the truth; I only want a Friend,' no friendship can arise...There would be nothing for the Friendship to be about; and Friendship must be about something."
So the question becomes then, are many of our friendships true friendships or are they of some other nature? Often times our friendships are affection/need based. A "friendship" occurs if that person meets certain needs of yours, or you meet needs of theirs. This occurs more readily in "friendships" between the sexes and is often why these types of relationships struggle. Because they are more driven off of a give and take basis, they become more prone to hurt, anger, and ultimately destruction since the relationship is not based off of a shared interest.
I'm not sure what this all means. Certainly I shouldn't align myself with only runners. Or computer nerds. Or guys who like to talk about girls. But I think it does mean that I shouldn't just pursue friendships for the sake of friendships. It does me no good to fake interest in OU football, in attempts to make a friend. That person will see through me quicker than a Texas touchdown, much like I will see through them if they cannot even eek out a 12 minute mile. I think, though, it makes me evaluate my friendships that might possibly be need/affection based. If we are just using each other to meet some unfulfilled need, there might be a deeper issue that should be addressed. But then, there is this fourth love called charity....