1 Samuel 18:1 – “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” (ESV)
2 Samuel 1:26 – “I grieve for you, Jonathan, my brother. You were such a friend to me. Your love for me was more wonderful than the love of women.” (HCSB)
I am missing my friend today on the anniversary of her death. “Friend” isn’t the correct word because people have lots of friends and friendly acquaintances, but we were so much more than that. If not “friend” then maybe “BFF” because after many years I still miss her, and my first thought is to call her when something happens in my life, but then I am hit with the reality that she is no longer available to answer my call. But, “BFF” has become so trivialized and commonplace and our friendship was never trivial or commonplace. No, “BFF” isn’t correct either. If neither “friend” nor “BFF” are correct, then maybe “Sister Friend” because we did all the things that sisters do – argued over minor things, borrowed each others’ clothes, had private jokes (that were quite hilarious by the way), did each others’ hair and make-up, laughed together, cried together, shared secrets, and talked – oh, how we talked! But, somehow “Sister Friend” doesn’t seem correct either. I always called her “My Janet”, and I think that’s a much better title than “friend”, “BFF”, or even “Sister Friend.” Marcus Tullius Cicero said, “Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.” “My Janet” sat with me in the hospital while my grandmother was dying. I sat with her in the hospital while her granddaughter was being born. I knew she would always come when I called, and she knew I never wanted her to leave this earth when she did. I read about Jonathan and David and think that their friendship was much like Janet’s and mine. 1 Samuel 18:4 even says they shared clothes! Like David, I have feelings of inadequacy. Like Jonathan with David, Janet believed in me. I read 2 Samuel 1:28 and know the deep sorrow that David is feeling. I know that there has been much discussion and controversy over the last part of that verse, but I think it just means that the love of a close friend is different than the love of a spouse. Jean de La Fontaine said, “Rare as is true love, true friendship is rarer.” As much as I wish she were with me, I celebrate that she is with Jesus. Just as I could never find the correct word to describe my friendship with Janet, Joseph Roux says there is no word to describe my void without her (“We call that person who has lost his father, an orphan; and a widower that man who has lost his wife. But that man who has known the immense unhappiness of losing a friend, by what name do we call him? Here every language is silent and holds its peace in impotence.”) I am just really missing my friend today on the anniversary of her death, but I am so thankful that God allowed our souls to be knit together.