Often, those of us who seek solitude forget how badly we do need others, and shun our fellow men at our own peril. For good friends are incredible sources of joy and strength and conducive to the Christian life. Christian friends confirm us in our Faith; give us different perspectives; encourage us in virtue; and impel us outside ourselves to meet and serve others.
Friendships also serve as an echo of our relationship with God. We were born to be in communion with God, to serve Him in trial on earth that we might serve Him in joy in Heaven. Our time on earth spent with others is a precursor to that eternal communion; our friendships on earth serve as imperfect shadows of the eternal friendship with the Master.
But friendship is awesome in its own right. In Heaven our friendships with others will only grow in intensity. How great they will be, then, when even on earth they are so joyful and salutary!
God has placed many good friends into my life. I will never know how much they have given me. But I do thank God every day for them; they have shaped me for the better.