I think I am a hobbit in disguise. I enjoy cozy, treasure my books, don’t mind working second breakfasts and cups of tea into my schedule, and find great joy in flourishing flower gardens. But more than all of that, I have a unique definition of friendship that seems more likely to be realized in Middle Earth than where I come from.
You see, in Middle Earth friends are willing to go on long journeys and experience adventures with you. They won’t hesitate to share their last bite of food or allow your enemy to mistake them for you – even if it means being strapped to an orc’s back for days on end. In Middle Earth, friends will leave their cozy armchair by the fire and trudge through Mirkwood if it means being there when you need them. In Middle Earth, friendship is more important than being busy. However, in our fast-paced world, being busy is a badge of honor. It indicates that we have lives that matter because there is such a high demand for our time; but there is a price to pay for being busy. It comes at the cost of missing out on life-forged friendships.
My type of friend includes me in her busy and doesn’t use me as her free time filler. My type of friend finds little ways to let me know that she thinks of me throughout her week. It might be a texted “hi!” or tagging me in a picture on Facebook. It could be a little note sent in the mail or a reminder that we need to schedule a visit sometime during the month. Nothing big; just little things that show me I am a valued part of her life. More importantly, my type of friend lets me know when life’s got her down and seeks out my thoughts, encouragement, and prayers. She inquires about my happenings and isn’t satisfied with an “I’m fine.” She wants to know the details. My type of friend and I know each other’s strengths and weaknesses; we hold each other accountable in our Christian walk and speak honestly when there is need of an attitude or life adjustment. But to have this kind of friendship, time must be invested and a certain amount of busy must be sacrificed to make it happen.
The problem is that we human beings desire to be the hero in our lives. We crave recognition and praise; we want to be the ones lauded for saving the world. We need to be the center of our show, and we may feel threatened by the thought of cheering on someone other than ourselves. Yet the truth is that sometimes we are in the moment not to save the world but to be the friend of the one who does. There’s an unplanned hero in every friend. Just ask Sam.