I love the song sang by a music group called Acappella, “Friends are Friend forever.” I doubt it was written by them, but I love the A Capella version. It is so beautiful. The general message of the song is that Friends are Friends Forever “if the Lord is the Lord of them.” Such a sweet thought. But shouldn’t we make the most of our friendships while on earth as well?
I have so many FB friends…. how much do each of them really mean to me? Do I call you? Do we chat on a semi-regular basis aside from the sharing of posts back and forth? Do I do more than just read your page every once in a while? Or do I just read the news feed and see your post… or not? When was the last time we at least shared a personal message thread?
I believe friends can be friends forever, and I also believe that what we do NOW counts. We can allow relationships to deteriorate and fall apart. Or we can work at them and enjoy them as they flourish into intimate relationships.
Today I found out that a friend of mine recently died suddenly due to unknown causes. I cried for three reasons when I found out. One because the lovely lady, Wendy, has gone on to Heaven to be with the Lord and sadly left behind many friends, loved ones and a husband and children. I cried because I too have lost my sister who sadly left behind her four children and loving husband and I know what that loss is like — what it is like to lose someone you love. And I have seen how it has effected my dear, sweet nieces who loved their mother very much.
And I also cried because I had let her go a long time ago. When was the last time I SPOKE to Wendy? I mean really spoke? We were friends at camp when I was 15 or so. She was a joy to be around but I never really tried to get as close to her as I could have. We did not share an intimate relationship. I would call her a friend, not an acquaintance, but we could have been closer if only I had put in the effort.
So with all the social media that begs the question, what about people who have more than 300 “friends” on Facebook? I know I have exactly 418. I have “cleaned out” my Facebook before, deleting people who I knew only by mutual friend and we’ve never actually communicated. Some of them I had never even gone to their wall to see what was up. Those are “FB acquaintances” and IMHO perhaps they should be deleted. But my mother calls her FB a ministry… She prays for her FB friends and hopes that her communication with them, even if it is only through them browsing HER wall from time to time, might bring them to God or draw them closer to Him. So should we keep every FB “friend?” I leave that judgement up to you.
Wendy will always be in my heart and I look forward to spending Eternity with her singing (she had an amazing voice), laughing and loving each other. But somewhere inside I know that on this earth I could have done better. I could have done better. I didn’t. I never called. Goodness I didn’t even have her phone number for the past several years. I only saw her at camp when I visited and that has been several years. So really we just had a Facebook relationship at this point. To me that is letting her down…. letting our relationship deteriorate because of MY lack of effort.
Friends are friends forever, but only if we make it that way. We can let friends drift away from us. It starts slowly, creeps in. Less seeing each other, less talking on the phone or in person. Then one day you may realize you haven’t gotten together in a while and perhaps you do, or perhaps don’t. Sometimes all it takes is a move to a far away place, say from Texas to Oregon (or the other way around, both of which I have done). I have people in Oregon that I still call friends and whom I enjoy watching their life on FB, but I haven’t spoken to them, even in a personal message, in a long, long time. I am letting those relationships deteriorate from a more intimate relationship to more of an acquaintance… or perhaps them not even counting me as a friend at all.
I must put an aside her about acquaintances. There is something to be said for having them. There are several different kinds of relationships and not every relationship has to be super intimate. My MIL has acquaintances everywhere she goes, or perhaps some of them could be called friends. She knows the names of the workers at the places she frequents. She calls them by name and even knows some details about their life, such as their mother’s failing health, and from time-to-time may ask them about it. Are these relationships meaningless or pointless? Should we eliminate all contact from people (on FB or otherwise) who aren’t intimate friends? That is not what I am saying here. I am simply making the point that you get out of something what you put into it. My MIL has worked at these relationships, starting with learning their name by face, not by name tag. The relationship can progress into something more, or not, but either way these relationships mean something. I have noticed that if I just remember someone’s name, call them by name and say “Hi,” and ask them how they are doing it brightens their day. …For a moment or perhaps the feeling lasts all day but isn’t that “Hi” worth the effort?
My whole point as I write at 4:30 in the morning is this: Work at a relationship when it matters to you and don’t let friends slip out of your hands. You never know when tragedy will hit. Not to be depressing or anything, but death comes to our door often without notice. When it knocks, who knows how many people will regret not calling, writing, or reaching out to that friend. Make not that mistake. Avoid regrets in your relationships — this goes for all relationships. Reach out to those you care about and to those you love and let them know you care. IF you have like 300 FB friends, consider either “weeding them out” and/or contacting one a day and just expressing your feelings for them. One a day is 365 people a year.
Lastly, if you have lost someone and you know you didn’t reach out to them as you should have, forgive yourself. While I regret not being closer to Wendy like I would have enjoyed, I will not spend my time regretting it. I will spend my memories of her with gratitude that I knew her at all, ever, and that she counted me among her friends. May she rest in peace and may her friends and loved ones find a little peace and comfort today and every day until they meet her again.
God bless you as you build your relationships. May they be everlasting and may you cherish them always.