During the recent quarantines and building closures and stay-at-home orders, we have realized more than ever that isolation from other people can be harmful. We need each other. We need friends.
Some of my favorite stories are about friends. Books like “Charlotte’s Web” and movies like “Wall-E” forever imprint on us the beauty of friendship and the sacrifices it sometimes calls us to make.
To celebrate and recognize the friends we need so much, I made a list of inspiring fictional friends. Unfortunately, I ran out of space to list all the stories that begged to be included. Let me know what stories you think should join these:
Sam and Frodo from “The Lord of the Rings”
Starting with an obvious example here. I have to be honest: I’ve never read “The Lord of the Rings” and I’ve only seen enough scenes from the movies to get them all mixed up. But even I know that Sam and Frodo are an incredible example of friendship. Sam rescues Frodo even after Frodo rejects him, and when Frodo loses sight of his mission, Sam holds him to it. Without Sam, Frodo would never have defeated Sauron. Sam’s loyalty is an example every friend can take to heart.
Simba and Nala from “The Lion King”
In the timeless classic “The Lion King,” Simba runs away after he mistakenly takes the blame for murder, leaving the kingdom in his Uncle Scar’s cruel hands. Falling in with a meerkat and a warthog, he adjusts to a much easier and worry-free way to live until his childhood friend Nala finds him.
Nala refuses to listen to Simba’s newfound excuses for the easy life. She knows Simba should be king, and she calls him out for ignoring the right thing to do. In the process, she reminds us that sometimes friends need to share hard truths.
Connie and Eugene from “Adventures in Odyssey”
My brothers and I still quote “Adventures in Odyssey” lines in normal conversation. As coworkers in the ice cream shop Whit’s End, Connie and Eugene could not be more different. Connie is impulsive and easily excited, while Eugene is very intelligent and detailed. Not surprisingly, their differences often create misunderstandings and disagreements.
But through the years, Connie and Eugene recognize the value of each other in their lives. Even though they are an unlikely pair of friends, they show us that even our differences can be a valued part of our relationships.
There are so many friendship story-arcs in the Avengers movies. Some characters butt heads but eventually (usually) respect each other. Others who have known each other a long time learn to trust each other even more. More experienced superheroes invest in the newer guys.
But over and over, the Avengers learn they are only as strong as they are unified, respecting and utilizing their differences. Each one of them has a unique role to play, and they realize there are bigger things at stake than their own egos. No matter how strong they are alone, they need each other to get the mission done.
Augie and friends from “Wonder”
Like the Avengers, the characters in “Wonder” offer us so many perspectives. A young boy with facial disfigurement starts at a new school. Augie’s classmates struggle with what it means to accept him as one of them, and Augie wrestles with what to do when someone he thought was a friend makes fun of him behind his back. His older sister is hurt when a lifelong friend ignores her, not knowing the heartaches and hurt that friend has been facing.
In each subplot, Augie and his family and friends learn to sacrifice for each other, and that their lives are richer when others are in it — even when it’s complicated.
Sue and Lucy from “Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye”
Ironically — appropriately — I was introduced years ago by my best friend to the based-on-a-true-story “Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye.” While the series is a bit outdated and low-budget, I have always loved the relationships between the characters, especially between the title character and her best friend. Sue Thomas is a deaf FBI agent who can read lips, making her an invaluable member of the team.
But living as a deaf person in a world of hearing people creates unique challenges for Thomas and her coworkers and friends, especially for Sue and her closest friend, Lucy. Throughout the series, Lucy and Sue choose to be honest with each other about their miscommunications, expectations and frustrations, even when the truth is hard to hear.
As Christians, we know that good friends mirror the friendship God extended to us through Jesus Christ. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends,” Jesus said right before He laid down His life for us.
As the old Michael W. Smith song reminds us, “Friends are friends forever, if the Lord’s the Lord of them.” For Christians, our friendship in this world is just the beginning. In the words of two of the greatest friends in fiction history: “‘We’ll be friends forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet. ‘Even longer,’ Pooh answered.”
Copyright 2020 Lauren Dunn. All rights reserved.