According to Facebook (the ultimate in all-knowing sources) I have over 700 friends. This was pointed out by a friend (one I knew before Facebook) who decided I must be very popular. (Yes, I know sarcasm when I hear it…)
Who knew that many people would want to be my friend (at least on social media)? I sure didn’t. Actually, it had never occurred to me check the number until my friend decided to have a little fun and poke at me. Nevertheless, there are people who’ve decided that it’s okay to be my friend (or there’s no harm in accepting my request to be a friend) and I’m glad they did.
Of course, not everyone on that list is my “best” friend. I don’t think you can have more best friends than you have fingers on one hand. Well, I don’t think I can, anyway. I do have best friends. You know who you are and I am beyond grateful for your presence in my life.
Not everyone on that list is a friend I’ve actually seen face-to-face for awhile–like for years and years. Some of these folks I knew in another state and in another time of my life–like grade school and high school and college (Round 1 at Western Carolina and Round 2 at Gardner-Webb). Some are people I know from places I used to work and some from where I work now, from church (which is where I work), and from various endeavors in my past and present life.
Some of my friends aren’t even on the Facebook list because they aren’t on Facebook at all. But, they are my friends no matter what Facebook knows or doesn’t know about them or me. Thankfully, social media is not the only way we make or get to have friends, and I was fairly good at making friends with people long before I even knew what a computer or the internet were. But, when we use it well, social media can be a really good way to stay connected to people or reconnect with folks who have added meaning to our lives.
What I find interesting as I read posts and look at pictures and remember how and when and why and where all these people have crossed paths with me is that the people I know come from far and wide. It is a fairly eclectic, sometimes eccentric, often entertaining, and fairly diverse group of friends. I can’t fit them all in just a few tidy box and label them. For the record, I don’t want to.
These folks I know and call friends come from all walks of life. They have different political leanings that go from the far right to far left and everywhere in between. They come from different faith traditions and from places where faith isn’t really important to them at all. Some are Republican, some are Democrats, some are Libertarians, some are Independents, and some don’t care about politics and never will. At present, these are my most sane friends.
Some of my friends are Smoky Bears, some are Catamounts, some are Tigers (more than one variety of those), some are Bulldogs or Runnin’ Bulldogs, some are Demon Deacons, Wolfpack fans, Paladins, Cavaliers, Volunteers, and of course, Tar Heels. I even have a couple of friends who love the Blue Devils (I don’t know why, but they do). Some don’t know a bat from a ball or a touchdown from a hole-in-one and they don’t care to know.
I have friends who cut hair, dance, practice law, practice medicine, and teach. They are accountants, professors, truck drivers, cooks, nurses, pharmacists, realtors, preachers, musicians, singers, actors, small business owners, sales people, broadcasters, and bankers. Some are students, some are between jobs, and some are retired. Some are doing pretty well for themselves, some are on Social Security, and some barely get by from paycheck to paycheck.
They hunt, fish, play golf, play tennis, ride bikes, ride horses, kayak, shoot pool, run 5k’s and marathons, hike, walk, watch NASCAR, are obsessed with college basketball, and play pickle ball. They make quilts, paint, crochet, knit, write books, bake cakes, garden, take pictures, coach little league, lead scout troops, teach Sunday school, save turtles, and take in stray animals.
I have friends who volunteer at Habitat for Humanity, Hospice, Meals on Wheels, the United Way, teach ESL classes, serve meals to homeless people, work at the local animal shelter, make prayers shawls and baby blankets, and tutor children at local schools.
They do things I would never do like scale huge mountains, zip line, scuba dive and sky dive to name a few. They do things I love to do like read, play tennis, hike and travel. They do things that make me scratch my head and get puzzled looks on my face. I’m certain I do the same for them.
Who would have thought that a little girl from Surry County, Virginia and Sevier County, Tennessee would get the chance to cross paths with so many interesting and truly incredible people?
You know one of the things I really treasure about my friends–all of them, not just the ones on Facebook? I treasure that they/you are part of a beautiful, intricately woven tapestry of life–the one I got blessed with. Whether you are a friend I’ve known since elementary school or one I’ve only recently come to know, you make a difference in my life. Thank you!
We get the opportunity in this life to be part of another human being’s story. Sometimes that’s just for a few fleeting moments, but they are moments that can have a profound impact on the life of another person. Hopefully, if we are doing it well, the impact is positive or, at least, not damaging.
One of my very best friends died several years ago. We met in high school and I have never known anyone quite like her. In many ways we were complete opposites, but that didn’t keep us from becoming and remaining friends. I miss her and her quick and quirky sense of humor and her enormous heart for others. Early in our friendship she asked me why I wanted to be her friend. You see, she hadn’t made friends easily and it seemed to puzzle her that I would be friends with her. The answer was simple; I told her that I liked her for who she was. I didn’t have any need or desire for her to be anything else. Later, as we grew up and would sometimes find ourselves at odds with each other, that was a core truth in our friendship.
I think if we spent more time trying to make friends with others we might have have more to smile about. We’d probably have more to laugh about. We’d surely have a few things to cry about. But above all, I’m certain we’d have more love in our lives.
Thank you, my friends.
I wish you peace…