Please Friend Me!

10:27 AMHeather

I can remember being a little girl, living on an Army base in Hawaii, and learning a little song in Girl Scouts.  

 "Make new friends but keep the old, 
one is silver and the other gold."

We'd stand in a little circle and cross our arms over and then hold hands.  We'd flip to the outside at the end of the song.  Does this little ritual sound familiar to any other former Girl Scout?  

Gotta be honest.  If I can't be honest with you bloggy friends, then with whom can I share my authentic thoughts?  That song was hard for me.  Let me say again.  I lived on an Army base.  Friends were always coming and going as their parents got orders to be stationed elsewhere.  Lasting friendships were a luxury I didn't know.  Having a severe speech impediment did not help my friend predicament.  I was taunted often--my lisp and struggle with the letter "r" were an easy fodder for jokes.  Not such a good impediment for a child named Heather.  Ugh.  

I can distinctly remember thinking how I wish I could keep the old friends.  There was a bitterness as I sang this song because my old friends were long gone.  New ones?  Not so easy with my speech issue.  I remember feeling like an outcast.  Leaving Hawaii only brought me a new label when we finally lived off base in the next location.  I was "THE NEW GIRL."  A label I would retain through the next two moves.  A label that to this day sorta haunts me.

I don't tell you all this to evoke sympathy.  But rather to make a point.  Friendships, you see, are precious.  Lasting friendships--the kind that endure for decades--are a treasure.  Even all these years later, it's a novelty I can hardly wrap my brain around.  

Like this morning.  As I sat over a cup of coffee with a dear college friend who is actually at my house, in the flesh, and with whom I've walked through more than twenty years of my life.  I can still hardly believe it.  That shy insecure little girl still marvels at a friendship that can kept and nurtured and maintained through milestones like college, marriage, babies, and now mothering teenagers.

I've found such merit in Facebook.  A place where old lost friendships have been restored.  Albeit in a virtual, sorta artificial manner.  Nonetheless, some lost years of my childhood have been redeemed and restored as I've found friends from my school years and college years and we've reconnected.  It never ceases to amaze me.  

Yet, Facebook can be a double edged sword.  It's not real life.  It's not intended to be the only connection with others that we have.  Sure, we can keep up with where each other checks in to eat or which accomplishments their child has achieved.  But, it's not intended to be the friendship entree.

Rather, I believe it should be the appetizer.  The starting point.  The connection point that leads to actual face-to-face interactions.  The way God intended.  The way we were meant to live--in community!  In fellowship and journeying together, keeping our old friends.  And, yes, making new ones.  The silver and the gold.  That move beyond the internet toward engaging in conversation over cups of coffee.

Don't we all need that?  

Let me tell you where Facebook is taking me this weekend.  Twenty years (gulp) after graduating from Baylor, I will be reuniting with my college roommates and neighbors.  At my house.  In person.  Where we can hug each other.  Cry together.  Laugh.  All over a cup of coffee.  Or cookie dough that gets eaten before anyone can think about baking it.

This is amazing to me.  I can't express it enough.  This group of ladies who walked me through the darkest days of my life.  Who giggled as I walked out the door for a date with my new boyfriend.  Who smiled and cheered at our wedding.  Who sent baby gifts for my children.  Who have cried with me through heartaches and struggles along the way.  Whom I am still blessed enough to call friends.

Not just on Facebook.

And it makes me want to implore you, bloggy friends, to step out of your cyber world.  Step beyond "friending" someone on Facebook.  How about "friending" them in real life?  Make the first move.  And then the next if necessary.

Invite someone for a breakfast.  Or lunch.  Or coffee.  Or a walk.  Somehow.  Somewhere.  Find a way to connect in real life.  It will feed your soul as it fulfills a God given need in your life. 

The truth is, we need each other.  To be real and authentic and transparent.  To check in on each other.  To follow up on a discouraged Facebook status with an actual phone call or text or by dropping by a card to that hurting person's house.  

'Cause I don't just want to be friended on  Facebook.  I want to be friended in real life.  To make new friends.  And keep the old. And treasure the silver and the gold with which God enriches my life.   In seasons of suffering.  In seasons of joy.  Holding on to each other.  Cheering each other on.  Crying with each other.  Sharing the burden as we journey together through life.  

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another.
Romans 12:15-16

When you think of those who enrich your life, consider the last time you made an effort to see them and connect in person.  When was the last time you had an actual conversation?  Make an effort today.  Friend them for real!

Cause our mamas knew what they were talking about when they told us to play nicely.  Together.  Sharing our world with one another.  

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