Thursday, March 18, 2010
Friends come in all shapes and sizes. They are young, and they are old. You find them in the strangest places. Friends are found in school, at work, in church, at baseball games, and in clubs. I used to think that you had to meet someone and at least shake their hand to begin a friendship. That seemed logical, and I'm nothing if not logical.
A year or so ago my daughter encouraged me to open a Facebook account, and then some months ago I was encouraged at work to open a Twitter account. I began talking with complete strangers on the internet. It was odd for me at first. I wasn't sure what to say. As the months moved on, however, conversation became more natural. I listened to people's problems (in 40 characters or less). I began reading their blogs. Suddenly these funny made-up names on my computer screen became real people. I found myself actually caring about these people. We've rallied around each other as we've dealt with health issues, financial problems, a home that burned down, sick children, deaths in the family, raising children, staying connected with grandchildren, social issues, and our own struggles to be the kind of people we aspire to be. We've prayed for each other. We've prayed for each other's family members and friends.
As I began reading my internet buddies' blogs, I found a kind of friendship I've never before experienced. I read, I digested, I thought about, and then I responded. That's a novel concept, isn't it? When two people converse in the same room, how often do we stop to digest and think about what the other person says before we respond? Normal conversation seems to flow so quickly in this fast-paced world in which we live. Do we really listen to each other anymore?
Say what you will about social media. It can take up too much of our time if we allow that to happen. It can control our lives if we allow that to happen. Or social media can be a means of making us better people. We can learn from others. We can comfort others. We can develop bonds that reach beyond cyberspace and into human space.
Yes, friendship is found in a variety of places. Thank you Twitter and Facebook friends. I love you all.