Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cleaning my friends list

A friend is always loyal. . . . A real friend sticks closer than a brother. - Proverbs 17:17, 18:24 (NLT)
Many of my Facebook friends have been posting the following notice: “I’m cleaning my friends list. Do you want to stay? Let me know.” The choices are yes, no, and not sure. I think one more choice needs to be added: “If you have to ask . . .”
I have close to 500 Facebook friends, some of whom I’ve never met but connect through writers and speakers organizations’ online presence. Some I’ve met a few times; others, such as family members, live far away. Still others live close by, but busy schedules and family commitments leave little time for catching up.
Granted, Facebook can usurp precious time and can be used for ill—some folks use it as a dumping station. But most use it to post positive messages—sayings and cartoons and pictures that perk up my day, make me laugh, make me think. Once I mentioned to a friend, who is also a Facebook friend, that I felt bad about posting my health challenges. Her response? “When I read those, I know how to pray for you.” Wow. Who’d ever think that Facebook would become a prayer net? She’s one friend I want to keep.
Whether in cyberspace or flesh-and-blood life, our friends lists clean themselves out naturally. Those who want to stay, do. They make time for you, no matter how busy they are. They’re there when you’re in a pinch.
Kathie is a friend like that. We met the first day of first grade outside the school building. Apprehensive about walking into that classroom and not knowing a soul, we looked at each other and said, “Let’s be best friends.”
And so we were. In grade school, we spent many hours in her attic playing dress-up. In high school I got in trouble one summer night when I walked her home and neglected to call my parents. College parted us. We settled in different areas of western Pennsylvania. Career and family kept us busy.
She was my maid of honor, the godmother to my firstborn. I was in her wedding. I haven’t been as faithful in sending birthday cards as she has, but our friendship in our retirement years is gaining momentum once again. When we do get together, we pick up where we left off, like no time at all has passed since we last saw each other.
Our friendship has lasted over half a century.
In her book, The 5 Things We Need to Be Happy, and Money Isn’t One of Them, Patricia Lorenz gives an apt description of true friendship: “Friends are mathematical. They multiply the joy, divide the sorrow, subtract the past, add to tomorrow. Friendship is bigger than the sum of all its parts.”
Cleaning my friends list? Nah. With friends like Kathie, I have all I need.
Thank you, Lord, for the wonderful people who have blessed my life with their friendship and love. Help me to be a friend to them—and to others—as they are to me. Amen. 

Special-Tea: Read 1 Samuel 20
Kathie and me on my wedding day, Dec. 22, 1973


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