Friendship is one of the greatest gifts in life–the unspeakable connection that exists between you and someone who truly understands you, can empathize with your struggles and can make you laugh during the most depressing times. We value these people. We appreciate their contributions to our lives and we realize that our lives would be incredibly different without them.

We love these people…most of the time. But sometimes, life throws us into a whirlwind of catastrophe and we are unable to figure out which way is the best way to go. We’re unsure who to trust, or even how to trust them. It is in those times that we learn what the true definition of friendship is.

I was in church, a week after one of the biggest arguments I’ve ever had, and although I didn’t get much out of the regular sermon, the children’s sermon especially struck me. She told the story of two little boys who wanted the same truck, and after fighting over it for a while, they decided their friendship was more important, and so they both put the truck down and went to play with something else.

The moral of the story? Real friends keep playing, even if they fight. Previous to this year at Goshen, I hadn’t had a friendship tested in this manner. Instead, when friends and I fought, our relationship was forever changed and, like a mirror with a crack down the middle, our reflection was mutated, and we were unsure how to fit the pieces back together. Shattered.

After this fight with my close friend, I was torn between the desire to rebuild the friendship and the false ideology that told me that friendships couldn’t be restored after a truly devastating fight. During that Sunday morning, the flames of my original fury had died down into a smoldering pile of ash, combustible at a moment’s notice. When I heard that true friends don’t give up and that they keep playing after a fight, I couldn’t keep on smoldering.

It was then that I began to escape the resentment that was building inside of me, and I finally opened myself to what God was saying to me: “If you have something against your brother, leave your gift at the altar and go to him.” Irritated, I wanted to exercise my free will and disobey God, but I couldn’t. I didn’t have the heart to do so. I wanted a real friendship, and luckily, so did my friend. So we sat down and worked out our differences (with the help of a few others), and we’re in a better place. I think our friendship is stronger for it. We understand each other’s perspectives, and we value our differences. What’s important is that we are real friends, and so we are willing to keep playing in spite of our fight. That is the definition of friendship.

Jennifer Speight is a junior English  secondary education major.