I have come to know over the past few months the true meaning of friendship. There are friends who are here for a season; they are the ones who you know and might be close to for a time, but then one of two things happens – you grow apart and go down different paths, or something happens (such as a fight or a disagreement or even a straight out stab in the back) that breaks you apart. Then there are friends who are there no matter what; no amount of differences or distance can break that kind of friendship and they are there even in the most difficult and trying of times. The temporary friends might disappear when the going gets tough, but true, everlasting friends overlook the storm and keep their eyes on the person you are, regardless of the trials you face. They will dive into the mud if not to pull you out, just to be there with you so you aren’t alone.

My favorite example is the friendship between Samwise Gamgee and Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings. That is one of my favorite books and my favorite movie because there are so many powerful messages, one of which is the loyalty of true friendship. Sam left the safety of the Fellowship to be with Frodo so that he could help Frodo face the terrors ahead. He didn’t hesitate and went through all of Frodo’s battles with him, not pulling away once. He easily could have turned back out of fear; after all, it wasn’t his appointed quest. However, he was Frodo’s loyal companion and would die for him or with him, and he would stay at his side no matter what the cost. Frodo would not have made it without Sam, and because of that strong, unbreakable friendship, Middle Earth was saved from the malice of Sauron.

True friends do whatever it takes to get you through your Mordor, whether it be addiction, debt, stress, illness, catastrophe, or an ended relationship. They have your back, and the best thing about it is you can have theirs. You can be there for them through the mud and slime of their warzones. Then, you can be there in the joyous times. You can celebrate one another’s achievements and triumphs, and you can lift one another up in pride and glee when you overcome the obstacles you face. These friends aren’t going anywhere. You may have issues now and then, but with them, no argument can break you and if you are true friends, you can forgive and move on from the fissures in the road, and no disagreement is strong enough to sever the everlasting bond that holds you together. Be thankful for those friends because God gave them to you to make you succeed and press forward in the darkest times, and to dance with you for joy in the times of light. I love my true friends, and I have hopes that maybe a few more will cross my path, then join me on it.