Sunday’s Wisdom #340: The Meaning of Friendship

“Friends don’t let friends ride towards dragons alone.”
– Douglon, Siege of Shadows
The Keeper Chronicles
, by JA Andrews

Douglon is a dwarf and he is speaking quite literally in this instance. He made some unusual friends a few years prior, and it seems like every time he journeys with them, somehow, in some way, for some reason, they always get attacked by a dragon at least one time. One dragon, really, in particular. He hates it, and gives them grief over it, because he possesses a certain sane desire for self-preservation. And yet, no matter the risk to his own life, he is never going to let his friends go into such danger, or any danger, without him there to watch their backs.

Isn’t that just real friendship summed up in a nutshell?

“I think this is super dangerous and the odds of dying are incredibly high, but I am never going to leave you to face it alone. I may die, you may die, we all may die, but I will stand beside you, charge into danger beside you, and ride into death beside you, because you are my friend and I am your friend! FORWARD!”

(…I think I’ve watched one too many of those YouTube videos where they ham it up to get their points across…)

I can say, with gratitude and humility, that there are people who I count as such friends that they would go into danger with me, as I would go into danger with them. (mind you, we are smart enough to also look for ways to avoid that) But more to the point, they have already stood by me when the “dragon,” so to speak, was metaphorical.

Dragons are formidable and dangerous, but rarely are they physical. And physical dangers may certainly kill us, but it is usually the more personal, less physical dangers which can simply destroy us, and leave our souls more broken than any crippled body. We need our friends in such times, as surely as we would need them if we were facing down a literal dragon. It is when we can’t simply run, or hide, or even hit something to solve our problems that we most need help.

I have heard it said that everyone is fighting their own personal war in life. But with our friends on hand, we need not face that war alone. We can call on each other for strength, for guidance, for insight, for laughter in the face of despair, for a shoulder to cry on, even if we just need to say something aloud and talk our way through it. And friends, real friends, will build one another up instead of tear one another down, that they might face their wars with power and might. Mind you, when I say that, I am very much aware that sometimes, as friends, we do need to humble each other with hard doses of reality, but that is not the same as tearing someone down. No, that is simply addressing a weak spot, covering it, aka, watching each others’ backs.

Now, success is never a guarantee, and sometimes all a friend can do is pull their friend back and away from a certain dragon. Then again, sometimes one can ride towards the dragon but cannot truly face said dragon alongside one’s friend. And, of course, you will find fewer more zealous advocates than myself for avoiding dragons as much as is feasible. But these are simply details. The point remains: whatever the danger, the threat, the foe, the personal demon, the tribulation of life, whatever it is…

A friend does not let a friend fight their war alone.

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