“In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality, a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another… the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting—any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work.” —C.S. Lewis, “The Four Loves”
I balanced precariously on the edge of my bed and eyed the picture frame I had just hung on my dorm room wall. I thought it was perfect when I was up close, but now I could see that one corner of the frame was slightly higher than the other.
Knowing I had more pressing tasks to accomplish, like unpacking the pile of boxes that cluttered my floor, I gave a defeated shrug and jumped off of my bed.
In the lounge outside my door, I could hear my mom introducing herself to one of the housemates I would be living with for the next year.
I poked my head out of my door to introduce myself, and the girl said her name was Maggie. After saying a quick hello, I returned to the mess that was my room.
After two years at K-State, I had decided to transfer to Tabor College, and I was excited to live with one of my best friends from high school and some of her friends. But we would also be living with some girls we didn’t know, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Maggie seemed nice, but during the first few weeks of school, we kept to our separate circles.
It wasn’t until my friends and I started a Bible study and invited Maggie that a friendship began to bud. It took a few tries to get Maggie to come, since I’m sure she thought we were weird and annoying, but eventually she joined us as we sprawled across the couches and talked about life.
I was hesitant, too. During my years at K-State, I had built some pretty sturdy walls around my heart that I wasn’t about to let down in front of a girl I barely knew.
But gradually, I found myself opening up to the four other girls in the group, including Maggie. At the same time, Maggie slowly began to open up to us, and we were able to witness her incredible transformation as she began to truly embrace Jesus’ love.
Over the course of that year, and even as we moved to separate houses during the next year, our friendship led to countless, precious memories, like driving 700 miles in one day just to cheer on the Tabor women’s basketball team at nationals.
In “The Four Loves,” C.S. Lewis explains that friendship “is not a reward for our… good taste in finding one another out,” but rather “the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”
Through my friendship with Maggie, I’ve been able to see the world and others from a new perspective.
I’ve also learned that C.S. Lewis was right when he said there are no coincidences for followers of Christ. Every single person God brings into our lives is there for a reason. Whether it’s the girl who lives across the hall or the boy who sits by you in class, God’s hand has crossed your paths.
I share the story of my friendship with Maggie not to boast—although I could brag about how awesome Maggie is all day. Instead, I share it as a reminder of the delicacy of our interactions and of the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives.
Our friendships are gifts orchestrated by God, and we must never take them for granted.
In addition to her studies, Bailey Kaufman was editor of the Tabor College student publication, The View, this school year.