Last night, I wrote about being alone. I’m not going to retract that, but something happened last night that just made my day (or night, depending on how you want to look at it).

My housemate and best friend stopped by with his girlfriend to pick something up on the way to the next destination of their date. The three of us used to hang out quite a bit until recently, usually on Sunday afternoons and evenings. A lot has happened and those times have gone to be with other times past. But they stopped in last night for a few minutes so my housemate could get something.

It has caused me to start reflecting on what makes a friendship a friendship. I’ve gotten so far as to know for sure that it’s the little things that make a difference. There are the big things (throwing a great birthday party for someone, helping them move, being there when loved ones are sick or dying, etc.) and those are important. But the little, tiny everyday things are what can make or break a friendship. The nuances of tone of voice, a smile, a hug, eye contact, an email saying you’ve been thought of, I could go on and on. When the little things stop, the big ones don’t tend to matter anymore. They start to feel like make-up actions for the fact that the little things that keep a friendship going aren’t happening. It isn’t enough to help people move when you don’t know a thing about them. At that point, you’re just a worker. It isn’t enough to offer comfort in times of sorrow when you haven’t been there in the little things to know what comfort could look like.

The big things are admirable and shouldn’t be dismissed. But the little things between the big things are what make the big things special and even more momentous in the first place.

Last night, my two friends, whose respective friendships with me has changed dramatically since they started their relationship, stopped by to hang out for a bit. It was a little thing for one to leave something at the house and need to grab it later. It was a little thing to have the other say she wanted to come in when the time came. But I felt extremely valued by them in the action, far beyond many things that could have been done.

If the devil is in the details, then God may be in the little things.