“I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12.” ~Stephen King
Stand By Me (based on Stephen King’s novella ‘The Body’ from Different Seasons) is about a lot of things; grief, mystery, childhood, death. But at its core, it’s really about friendship. A celebration of the bond between boys that transcends time and circumstance.
I remember the first time I saw the film. At the end when the credits rolled, I sat there in the theater absorbing what the film had so beautifully conveyed, both explicitly and inherently. The film resonated with me in many ways. For one, some of it was shot in and around my hometown of Cottage Grove, Oregon. Secondly, I had friends very similar to those portrayed in the movie, and one character who was eerily close to one of my best friends when I was twelve. The film caused me to reflect on all of the friendships throughout my life and how they had shaped me.
I have had wonderful friends, which is probably why the theme of friendship is woven through much of my writing. Those bonds are important to me. Vital, even. And they fascinate me. Friendship can alter our lives in many ways and like love becomes part of our DNA in ways few things can. There’s just something about the connection that is made with another that ignites a spark in the soul; a leap of joy almost. It’s like CS Lewis observed when trying to articulate the nature of friendship: “Friendship arises out of mere companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.”
I have also been most fortunate to maintain friendships that were first formed at an early age. These knitted partnerships have, if anything, strengthened with age. Like fine wine that brings forth character as it ages, so too have my friends added to the flavor of my own life. And I’m so very grateful they have.
So here’s to our friends, the ones who have traveled side by side with us through the seasoning of life. May they know how valued they are and what a true treasure they are in our lives.
“True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island… to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.” ~Baltasar Gracian