Love and Roommate-ship

      There is in life that for which we all live: love. Of course there are different types of love, different definitions of love, and different understandings of love. But one of the most sought-after, and often the most treasured, is the love that grows friendship: “philia,” brotherly love.

      A love that is organically chosen, not required, and a love that, when nurtured, cared for, and tended to through Christ, can grow into something rather extraordinary.

      College is a unique opportunity in life to detach from the home one has been given, and to create a home of one’s own. As I walk the paths that twine through Eastern’s campus, and pass the same faces every day, I see homes formed through the finding and befriending of other souls.

      Mary Oliver once wrote, “As a child, what captivated me was reading the poems myself and realizing that there was a world without material substance which was nevertheless as alive as any other,” and I believe I had a similar experience, not with poems, (that came later) but with the friendship that I discovered blossoms out of living with a soul friend. I found that there is a subtle, yet paramount difference between friendship and roommate-ship; living with a friend is like discovering the world that bursts forth in full bloom when poetry is grasped in understanding. Living with a friend reveals to you every beautiful speck of your friend, every dissonant chord, every heartbroken truth he or she holds within him or herself, and in each revelation, the roots of this chosen love venture deeper.

      When blessed with a roommate who is also one’s dear friend, one understands that, similar to words and ideas and poetry of the ages, friendship too is “alive without material substance,” and can thrive simply by two souls existing in the same shared space. One can return to this newfound home after an overwhelming day, and find solace in the soul who is is a listener, an empathizer, a holder of all things broken; because it is the overwhelming days that break us, and the soul friends who put us back together again.

       The culmination of small moments shared with a roommate build the dorm room into a home: brushing your teeth together every night, sitting silently for hours doing homework together, gathering books for your morning class quietly, so as to not wake the other, putting your own worries to the side when your roommate needs you. Moments such as these build the pure foundation of the love of friendship, and when you’re not looking for it, this foundation becomes a fortress. Knowingly momentous and seemingly insignificant experiences alike are the bricks and the mortar which make the fortress the mighty structure that it is; every shared experience is one more brick upon the unspoken alliance that will suffer and rejoice together.

       Another great poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote, “Our chief want in life, is, / someone who shall make us do what we can. / This is the service of a friend. / With him we are easily great.” One does not enter into new phases of life, such as college, hoping to find perfection. For by this point in life, one has usually discovered life’s best-kept secret, that perfection breeds boredom, staticity, apathy. Instead, one walks boldly into new territory hoping for a sliver of familiarity; one hopes for home, whether or not he or she has previously known the comfort of a home. In the kinship of two souls together creating a home, roommates gift familiarity to one another, time and time again.

       To be known is to have a home. Roommates are friends who know each other to their very center, who know the best and the worst of the other. Living with a comrade makes one easily great, for one has created the home where he or she belongs and is known deeply.

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