“No friend can be better worth keeping than Eleanor.” ~ Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey
Though Catherine is unfortunate enough to befriend Miss Thorpe, the contrast of Eleanor’s character seals Catherine’s loyalty and appreciation.
Fandoms are fraught with friendships. The Golden Trio (Harry, Ron, Hermione). Chewbacca and Hans Solo. Katniss and Cinna. Bella and Alice. Ariel and Flounder (had to get in my favorite princess movie). Elizabeth and Jane Bennet. Each of these friendships are ideal in that they live out the greatest form of love…
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. ~ Jesus, John 15:13 (ESV)
In Philosopher’s Stone, Hermione sacrifices herself for the boys, earning their friendship; Ron sacrifices himself on the chessboard so Harry and Hermione can go on; Harry sacrifices himself to protect the stone and thereby his friends and all of humanity—wizards and Muggles alike. Chewbacca sacrifices himself by going to save Hans; the two stick together even when not in their best interest. Katniss would easily die for Cinna, and Cinna does die to help make Katniss the Mockingjay. Bella sacrifices the comfort Edward can offer by letting Alice go and keeping her secret; Alice sacrifices herself to save Bella, and her family. Elizabeth endures Darcy’s company for Jane’s benefit. Jane, the only sensible sister, offers comfort for Elizabeth.
Friendships that exude John 15:13 love are so powerful in Fandoms because we all want those types of friendships. Who, reading Harry Potter, doesn’t desire to be part of a trio like that of Ron, Harry, and Hermione? We want people that we so love that we’ll do anything for—even die. And we also want friends who will do the same for us. The problem is, in the real world, those friendships are few and far between.
But we can all have at least one friend like Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Like Cinna and Katniss and Peeta. Like all our favorite Fandom friendships. That one friend, as corny as it may sound, is Jesus. We’ve never formally met him, but he knows us and he already went to bat for us, he already died in our place. And, just because we can’t physically see him, doesn’t me we can’t have a friendship just as deep (even deeper) than that of our favorite Fandom friendships. In fact, he’s waiting and wanting that friendship with us.
How can we be friends with someone we cannot see?
- We have to trust in Jesus as Harry chose to trust in Dumbledore in Deathly Hallows, with all our hearts, not leaning on our own understanding, but following his directions, trusting he’ll lead us down the right path.
- We have to invite Him into our lives. For me that took the form of a simple prayer and the choice to be baptized. In the Bible, the Holy Spirit descends on Christ once he is baptized. For me, I felt the same happened—for whatever reason, after baptism I have felt a different level of connection with Him than before. Many of our favorite characters go through symbolic baptisms before they receive their “mission.” Katiness in her second Games—which are filled with water. Harry in the second task of the Triwizard Tournament, and then again when he dives into the freezing pool for the Sword (Ron representing John the Baptist). Consider taking that step yourself.
- We have to talk to him—give him our worries and problems—and listen to him as we trust him to get us through. This involves praying throughout the day and reading His letter to us (the Bible), along with listening for that “still small voice,” that nudge or prompting in our hearts. Praying throughout the day doesn’t have to be formal. Sometimes I just talk to Him in my thoughts, eyes open. No one even knows I’m praying. I do that before I eat and no one even knows. My husband closes his eyes and bows his head, which is fine too. The point is to have an intimate connection with Him by talking to him throughout the day and listening to Him. Think of it as sending a text to Christ every once in a while to thank Him, ask Him for help, lean on Him, or just feel close to Him.
- We have to earnestly seek his Will. What does he want us to do? How does he want us to speak, act, behave, treat others? What would he do in our situation? We need to fervently seek His ways and strive to be more and more like Him. And, when we mess up, to fess up. Ask for forgiveness. Dust our shoulders off. And keep on striving.
Friendship with Christ is pretty simple, and may look a little different for each of us, but the point is to never give up. Stay close to Him because, at the end of the day, the only thing in life that truly matters is you and Him. If you can get that right, everything else will eventually fall into place.
The best way to find friends like Eleanor, is to be a friend like Eleanor, to be a friend like Christ.
What are your thoughts on friendships in Fandom?