Soulmates Aren't Just Lovers, You Know
I used to consider myself a loner. I didn’t need people; I had myself. I could spend an evening reading F. Scott with some wine and a lit candle and be perfectly content with quality me-time. I like being alone in airports, alone in coffee shops, alone walking city streets with just music as my companion.
I’ve always liked being alone.
Until I didn’t anymore.
Until being alone meant that I would have to think and - God forbid! - have actual emotions like a regular human being and oh, I dunno, feel lonely.
“Man was not made to be alone.” That’s what the Bible says, at least. They read this verse at weddings a lot, but I think this speaks to a wider truth that goes beyond just marriage. I think it echoes the reality that we, as humans, were never made to spend our days as loners.
I believe it now. We were made for each other, for laughs that go beyond an ‘lol’ on a screen and smiles that are more than a colon and end parenthesis. We were made for community and deep talks and long hugs and an “I'm here for you.”
I came home from work last week with a package at my doorstep. Confused as to what it could be - I hadn’t ordered anything - I opened it to find gluten-free snacks, kind words and other goodies - a surprise gift from friends who knew I could use a bit of sunshine.
There’s a Ryn Weaver song (check it) where she sings, “Soulmates aren’t just lovers, you know.”
If that’s the case (and I do think it is), I have a whole lotta soulmates in my life.
I have a group of friends I’ve known since I was four, friends who saw me through my I-wouldn’t-even-be-my-friend childhood jerkface stage and yet for some reason chose to stick around; friends who will stay on the phone with me until 1 a.m. even when they have early morning clinicals; friends who will ask “How are you?” and truly want to hear an honest answer. And I have friends who have come into my life as I’ve stumbled into this whole “adulthood” thing; friends who will talk God with me at 7 a.m.; friends who will meet me at coffee shops and nod understandingly as I explain my (too many) life crises; friends who have taken care of me when I’m sick; friends who have let me stay in their home and eat their food and ask nothing in return.
Why don’t we talk more about this type of love? Why aren’t there songs praising friendship and holidays celebrating these relationships? I think we spend so much time chasing after in-loveness with one person or empty likes and follows from the multitudes that we forget about this very real love and acceptance from friends that already surrounds us.
Because what beauty that someone can know every embarrassing detail about you and yet choose to remain your friend. What is there to gain in a friendship anyways? What holds it together? In marriage there are vows. In family there is blood. But in friendship? In friendship, it is a love that goes beyond covenants or family ties. In friendship, love hinges solely on choice.
And that’s not to say the other loves aren’t just as sweet and important, but simply that I don’t think we acknowledge this quiet love between friends enough.
C.S. Lewis said it best in The Four Loves (I will never ever stop quoting this genius Brit and this book should be required reading for the entire world):
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather, it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
I’m no longer afraid to admit that although I may enjoy my alone time (early morning coffee shop dates with myself are my new jam), in the end I still need people. We all do. And shoot, I’m hella lucky and grateful for the value that my friends - my soulmates - have chosen to give to my life.