Being able to have friends must be both a pleasure and a cross to bear, all at the once. I know that I have many, many “friends” who in all reality are acquaintances or “associates” but I also do have those that are close to me, even one I’d call my “best friend.”
Having a close friend, someone with whom you can share your secrets, go around to the malls and have over to your house for a cuppa, a film or something, can both be the most wonderful blessing and the most heaviest of marble crosses. Marble, a strong rock, is both heavy and destructible. Were a good friend comparable to a “marble cross” I say that figuratively, but you’ll understand when I explain.
Because it’s both heavy and breakable, you’ve got to be careful to carry the marble cross. One has to hold it an an angle so that if it does fall off, you can catch it before it breaks, otherwise once you’ve gone past that fixable catch, the cross will fall and shatter. Then you’re left with not one cross but a million of a thousand different strands and shards of rock.
Likewise, the very worry is in your mind over dropping the cross. Friendship, for me at least, if having to worry when you’re saying the correct things or interpreting what they say as correct. Should you ever tell them something that could hurt their moral character, your friendship is in danger of faltering. I would hope that your own friends are careful not to be cruel to you, for that indeed isn’t friendship.
Dear Christian soul, do not concern yourself with the afflictions of human relationship for God will take care of that: what He giveth, He also can taketh away.
Sometimes at the end of the day, my friends (one in particular) can be that heavy marble cross on my back. Particularly because he deals with many difficulties that I don’t know how to counsel, and I do try my best, but I know bloody well that I have failed him in many areas while he might say I haven’t, I know I can do better. One voice in my head says “you’re only young, don’t worry about other people” but then the other voice repeats Proverbs 18:24
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother
But anyway, the value of friendship is not unlike gold in that it is rare and priceless. Running the risk of being a false friend is just too much to take before you crash into a great emptiness inside. However, to paraphrase C.S. Lewis, friendship is not essential to our survival but it always makes it much more valuable. It is of my own carefulness that I write this; as Christians we must put complete trust in God and the Heavenly company of the saints and angels for in them is the truest of friendship: undying, unending, irreplaceable, divine and completely loving. Our human friendships can lead us to God, and to the fullness in our love of God or they can do the opposite and drag us down the hill over to the bogs of discomfort and confusing misery. Always be good to your friends. You are your brothers keeper. Remember them in your prayers, always ask Our Lord and His Blessed Mother to keep them close. St John the Apostle is the patron saint of friendship, so keep that in mind and pray to him often for your friends and in any difficulties you encounter.