“I guess God alone deciphers when we need each other most. Who will be the blest receiver, who will be the gracious host.” ~Wayne Watson~
We meet people throughout our lives that we think will be with us forever and then life takes its course and we find ourselves walking different directions. In an effort to find out why we drifted apart, we look for fault. If you’re like me, you look at yourself first and wonder what you could have done differently eventually reaching the conclusion that it just happened. As time goes by we look back and we wonder where they are, how they are and with gratitude we whisper their names to the heavens for what they added to our lives.
I recently posted some questions to my friends on facebook about friendship and what it means to them. I learned that qualities such as respect, common interests and kindness, were important to all age groups. But one of the statements that caught my attention was this, “friends don’t interfere with the journey”. That struck me to the core for many reasons. I have friends who watched me rise to popularity in the churches with my music and my gregarious personality. They are the same friends who saw me spiral into the blackest hole I could have imagined. None of them judged me while living the façade of super Christian, nor did they judge me when I had fallen with my face to the ground. They instead, extended their hands of friendship, opened their homes to me and let me walk out my failings. They watched me grow through it all while offering a safe place for me to find protection, mostly from myself. But more importantly, they didn’t interfere with my journey. If they had, I may not have grown. They are those who have known me for a long, long time.
But what about the friends I have met on the internet? You can tell by the way I have begun this paragraph that I believe friendships can formed by way of technology. While most of my friends agreed that authentic friendships can be found in social network settings, they also felt that they can be harmful when not kept in balance. In other words, while it is possible to connect with someone whom you have never met in person, it is important that we don’t allow our face to face friendships to lose their importance. Having a new friend is exciting and fun and it can be easy to get lost in those early stages of friendship, neglecting those who have helped us become who we are. So while it is possible to find great friends on the internet, it is also important to keep a healthy balance. Most of all it was the common thought that social networking has been more of a benefit in connecting former classmates, distant relatives and other friends.
In the past several months, I have become more involved in social networking than I imagined I would be and I have to say that I have met some wonderful people, some who I consider friends. Although they have not known me long, they still have a special place in my life. Twenty years from now, they may only be names that I whisper to the heavens when giving thanks for my journey. Whatever the case, I am richer for each and every friendship, near or far, present or past.