Spiritual friendships: a lost road to God

Nurturing friendship

I was in university when I met my friend Amy. We were in a creative workshop, and when we both confessed to writing about faith, we shared a moment of recognition, writes Jessica Mesman Griffith.

- Busted Halo

CS Lewis describes it as the beginning of any true friendship: What, you too? I thought I was the only one! 

When our class took an end-of-the-year trip to New York City, Amy and I stayed on an extra day, crashing in the empty apartment of an acquaintance. We walked and talked for hours, covering miles and pouring out our stories. Late that afternoon, we walked into a bookstore just long enough for Amy to pull a small pocket edition of the Old Testament Book of Ruth off the shelf. Later, on the rooftop of our friend’s apartment, the city streets humming below, we passed the book back and forth, alternately reading and listening with almost breathless attention.

When Ruth, a widowed Moabite woman, is joined to the Israelites by proclaiming her undying loyalty to her mother-in-law, Naomi, we were electrified by the power of her ancient promise: Whither thou goest, I will go. …Thy God shall be my God.

We were praying together for the first time, though we hardly realized it. In these two women — removed from us by centuries and cultures — we received a vision of a different kind of friendship, a way of walking with one another toward God.

A few weeks later, we both graduated, got married, and moved on. But we continued our friendship through letters. After five years, we really had walked with each other, not just through the trials of daily life but through a tragedy that might have ended our friendship. We had gotten pregnant with our first babies within months of each other, and we had worked ourselves into an ecstatic frenzy over having daughters of the same age. But five months after my daughter’s birth, Amy’s daughter was stillborn.

I doubted I’d have the strength to fulfill the vow I’d made that night in New York, in the words of Ruth and Naomi, to follow Amy wherever she was going. I have failed at friendship before — more times than I care to admit. I have found myself unable and even unwilling to bear another’s burdens.

FULL STORY A lost road to God

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