Lean on Me

 

SPOILERS FOR KINGDOM HEARTS BELOW!

“Lean on me, when you’re not strong, I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on…” These are the opening lines of the song “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers, a song dedicated to why we need friendship in our lives. Friends are there to share in our experiences. They stand by our side during our most significant achievements, and they do not abandon us during our greatest downfalls.

Popular media today portrays numerous examples of friendships, from JD and Turk in Scrubs and Samwise and Frodo in Lord of the Rings to Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the Harry Potter series. I am sure as some folks read this, their minds wander to other great examples of friendship in their own lives and beyond. Humans, it seems, just were not meant to be alone.

Friendship in Kingdom Hearts

In the video game series Kingdom Hearts, friendship is a prominent theme. At the end of the first Kingdom Hearts, Sora states, “My friends are my power!” This phrase resonates throughout the series, and one can find examples of strong friendships everywhere. Sora’s adventure revolves around finding his friends Riku and Kiari after beings created from the darkness in people’s hearts, the Heartless, envelop and destroy the island they live on. Afterward, the trio is separated, leading Sora to scour the worlds in search of his friends.

From Kingdom Hearts III

Soon after he awakens in Traverse Town, the second world one encounters in Kingdom Hearts, Sora meets Donald Duck and Goofy just before the fight with the boss Heartless, called the Guard Armor. King Mickey sends Donald and Goofy to seek the wielder of the Keyblade to prevent the destruction of worlds at the hands of the heartless. The trio teams up and embarks on a quest to seal the lock leading to the heart of the worlds. This action prevents their destruction at the hands of the heartless.

Throughout the adventure, Sora befriends numerous Disney and Final Fantasy characters, including Tarzan, Hercules, Beast from Beauty and the Beast, Pinocchio and Geppetto, and Cloud and Aerith from Final Fantasy 7. These newfound friends are invaluable in helping Sora through his quest to save the worlds and find his friends.

Our trio of heroes

My Friends are My Power

Toward the end of Kingdom Hearts, Sora had met up with Riku in a few different worlds. The darkness in Riku’s heart had recently seduced him. He gave in to the darkness to help Kiari, Riku and Sora’s other friend. Because of his choice, Riku undergoes a deep dive into darkness, bringing him in conflict with Sora’s mission. Sora finds Riku in Hollow Bastion, a unique world at the end of the game. Riku then takes the keyblade from Sora. Donald and Goofy then join with Riku, obeying the order King Mickey had given them to follow the wielder of the Keyblade.

After some puzzle solving with Beast’s assistance, Sora catches up with his friends in the atrium of the world’s castle. This scene leads to a powerful confrontation between Sora and Riku.

Our Hearts Will Be One

Riku stands against Sora, taunting him, saying that the darkness will destroy Sora. Sora defies Riku, stating that the darkness can destroy his body, but his heart will never die. Riku attacks Sora, and Goofy blocks the attack. Goofy, standing defiant against Riku, states that he will stand with and defend Sora. After the adventure they experience, Goofy calls Sora one of his best friends. Donald soon joins Sora and Goofy, leading to one of the many great quotes in this game:

Although my heart may be weak, it’s not alone. It’s grown with each new experience, and it’s found a home with all the friends I’ve made. I’ve become a part of their heart just as they’ve become a part of mine. And if they think of me now and then… If they don’t forget me… Then our hearts will be one. I don’t need a weapon; my friends are my power!

With this quote, the Keyblade returns to Sora, sensing the strength of his pure heart. After this, the first battle between Riku and Sora begins.

Friendship in the Bible

Our heroes celebrating victory together.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (ESV). 

The Bible is full of amazing examples of friendship and the consequences of having friends with you when you need them. Jesus surrounded himself with twelve apostles, with whom he became close friends. Peter was even willing to fight physically for Jesus! The Bible shows this when Peter cut off a guard’s ear when he was trying to arrest Jesus on the eve of his crucifixion.

Before becoming King of Israel, David befriended Jonathan. They were incredibly close to the point that Jonathan defied King Saul and warned David of the attempt to be made on David’s life (link to Bible Gateway). In the creation story, God states in Genesis 2:18, “… ’It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’” This verse describes why God created Eve to accompany Adam.

Share the Load

We need to forge good friendships. Friends are there to help share burdens and joys. They help with discussion and stress relief, and they can help you push through troubling times while walking beside you the whole way. Sometimes, friends can even save your life. They can help you experience things you may never have done on your own. Our companions also are an excellent foundation for the building of long-lasting memories. Friends honestly give us power.

One of the worst ways to experience life is to have a life devoid of meaningful friendships. Forging a life where one lives intentionally secluded and keeping everybody at a distance is not ideal. As the author wrote in Ecclesiastes, this can easily lead to a person’s destruction. Without friends, it is harder to face extraordinarily stressful situations. Multiplayer games do not have the same weight without good companions to play with you. It is lonesome to have amazing things happen, but nobody to share the occasion. When disaster strikes, there is nobody there to be with you while you lament.

Screenshot from Kingdom Hearts III

Somebody to Lean On

For those of you who are in that situation, I pray that you can reach out and find the friends you need. Friends will help you heal from those times of trouble. If there is an issue that lies deeper than the surface level, please find a counselor or other professional to help you. Pray to God for further assistance. Finally, always be open to people God may place into your life. God has a way of getting the people you need to you when you genuinely need them.

My brothers and sisters, I urge you to find those strong bonds of friendship that you have had. Please, build deep relationships out of love and trust with those who you call your friends. You need to be there for them just as much as they are there for you. Carry each other’s burdens and celebrate in each other’s joys. Walk with each other through the many seasons of life; your lives will be better for it.

Cody Massie

I am a firm believer that God can show Himself wherever people dare to look. I love looking for his fingerprints in video games especially! I have been gaming since I was young, and I am continuously fascinated with the medium.

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