In defense of friendship.

So, I’ve been reading The Lord of the Rings, finally, I’m almost done with “The Fellowship of the Ring.”

And so far my favorite character is without a doubt, Samwise Gamgee.

Though Aragorn and Legolas and Gimli would all be close behind.

They were my favorites in the movie, along with Eowyn, but I’m definitely not alone in that.

But Sam is the best, he’s the comic relief as well as the heat of the group. Kind of like The Flash. you ever notice how often those heart characters are also the funny ones, it’s like the heart has to make sure people don’t get too sad or discouraged along the way. This is another reason I like Spiderman.

Anyway, there’s some controversy with Sam and Frodo that’s pretty messed up.

I’ m bringing this up not to have a political axe to grind, but to address another problem with this mindset of our culture.

People interpret certain words and actions as pertaining to certain feelings. You know what I mean. A kiss means one thing, holding hands means another.

To my astonishment, I’ve discovered that something as simple as expressing a great wish for your friend to come back alive, or to survive, can be perceived as sexual.

First of all, even if this is between a man and a woman, I’d still say it was messed up to look at it that way.

Things are pretty desperate when a man can’t want a woman to come back alive without being in love with her. I. e. Sexually attracted to her.

Is that all we’re good for to each other? Meeting some sexual need? Is that the only goo reason to care about each other’s well being. Because it seems thoroughly selfish to me.

I know some kinds of love can be selfish like that. No doubt you’ve experienced that kind of love, either in yourself, or in someone else, and it’s not always the romantic kind anyway. Familial love can be just as selfish. And so can friendship love.

My concern is that we don’t know what friendship is anymore.

I’ve had friends of both genders whom I’d be very upset about if something happened to them. I’d take steps to prevent that too. That doesn’t mean I want to be with either of them. It just means that I (shock) happen to care about other human beings besides myself.

And my guess is I don’t need to explain this to you folks who are reading this, but it sure as heck seems like it needs to be explained to a lot of folks who are spouting off their opinions every where I turn.

There’s nothing wrong with having an opinion of course, just so long as it’s a healthy one.

But if you can’t even believe in affectionate relationships out side of romantic ones, that’s not healthy.

Because the amount of people any one person can have romantic feelings for is limited, but the amount of people they can have affection for is almost limitless. You can get fond of almost anyone if you know them long enough and they don’t drive you crazy, in some cases even if they do drive you crazy.

And there’s a big difference between Sam wanting to protect Frodo and save his life, and Sam not being able to go on without Frodo. (I do think Frodo could not have gone on without Sam, but for a very different reason, the Ring would certainly have possessed him if he had been left alone with it.)

It’s a very natural thing to protect your friends. If you don’t, you aren’t much of a friend, that’s why gossiping about your friends is the best way to lose them. You exposed them instead of defending them.

In fact, friendship starts from a willingness to help another person not be lonely, a lot of the best friendships come from two people who had only each other, and were hated by everyone else, or just ignored. My own parents started out in such a relationship.

And between a man and woman, that often turns into love. But it’s not because friendship is inherently romantic, just immaturely so; it’s because companionship is the best foundation for a romantic relationship to grow on. But it doesn’t happen that way every time. And it doesn’t have to happen that way for it to be a healthy relationship. I think men and women can be lifelong friends and never need to take it further than that.

In a perfect world, we could all be like that and no one would be suspicious of it.

In the Bible, King David, a man with over seven wives if I remember right, had a friend named Jonathan, and they had a bond of souls.

David said at a later time that Johnathan’s love to him was better than women’s love.

This does not mean it was homosexual at all. There’s actually a distinction David is making between friendship and sexual love. He found the one with women, but he never seemed to have a wife he really was friends with.

David is simply recognizing here that friendship love is more sweet and loyal than romantic love often is, romantic love is famously fickle and inconsistent. And a guy with seven or more wives would certainly know that.

C. S. Lewis wrote that he’d rather have friendship with his wife, forever, than be romantically attracted to her forever. Because friendship was a better thing to have.

Now, just to be clear, friendship does not mean a feeling in this case. It means a certain unselfish way of acting, putting your friend first before you. Like Johnathan did for David. It also means having someone else who is passionate about the same things as you are. As Lewis says in “The Four Loves.” IT also means willingness even to lay down your life for someone else, as Jesus himself says is the greatest love of all.

All this can be in a romantic relationship, but it does not make it one.

In fact, this kind of friendship is really the kind of love we should have toward all people.

I think stigmatizing it is a huge mistake, and part of the reason people find it difficult now to make connections with each other in any way that’s not over a screen, where misinterpretation is a lot harder.

And until we let go of this stereotype, we can’t really be inspired by characters like Sam to be noble, loyal, and self-sacrificing; which is certainly what Tolkien intended when he wrote the story.

That’s my food for thought, until next time–Natasha.


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