What's happened to my friends?
I'm on my high school reunion committee with the assignment to search for "missing" classmates. As I pour over their names I remember so much about some of them. I know who made out with whom and where. I know what books their dad read. I know when they got their first bra, and where their mom hid the key to the freezer in the garage where she was keeping dozens of cookies for her Christmas Open House, ("uh-oh...sorry mom. They were??? Stop yelling!")
These are the friends I grew up with, who influenced me for good and bad, who understood me when my world seemed like a rollercoaster that my parents were oblivious to. (I had great parents...I just kept my ups and downs away from them since they didn't seem that interested in the enormity of who I sat by at lunch). I've lost track of most of them. We've had lives and marriages, kids and grandkids...the rollercoaster has had huge hills and I'm sure we've all been motion sick lots of the time. The friends of my past helped me become myself.
I married my true best friend and the old friends became the memories I told him about as we established our new life together.
Then I found the friends that helped me raise my kids, those I've worked with and served with, cried with and loved like sisters. I think of them often with love and gratitude as I use their recipes, remember tending their kids, unwrap a Christmas decoration they gave me, or sing one of the songs we sang together. Their support kept me upright through times I wanted to lay down and cry, or lay down and die, and they helped me laugh and remember how fun my life really was. I don't see most of them anymore, although some I would count as true sisters.
Now I have 7 kids and 7 in-law kids who have become my best friends. Sixteen grandkids share my time and energy with me. I have siblings who I've realized are true, and lasting friends, and aunts I have used to replace my mom. Trying to stay connected to all these folks leaves me little time or interest in making new friends. I've made some recently, but these are surface friendships without depth. We haven't got deep background, or years to invest in getting familiar with all the ups and downs, and ins and outs of each others lives. There's an understanding that we are friends for here and now, with no huge committments of getting involved in the nitty gritty. We already have people for that.
This brings me to my point. Why do I get such enjoyment from blogging? Reading about people I'll never meet, sharing interests and experiences and thoughts with total strangers? Or writing something heartfelt and sending it into the great unknown wondering if I'm connecting with anyone at all?
I read a quote that says "Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure; it is work." Luckily I have lots of people I love and who love me. My life's work is actively loving them. It's everything I care about doing. But for leisure it's fun to have random people who take no work at all. I can choose several blogs from different facets of interest, learn from them, be entertained, be stimulated and inspired, and never know if their kids are on drugs, or their mom has cancer. They are available whenever I am. I don't need to get dressed or pick up the house, drive anywhere or even know where they live. It's a selfish relationship. I can give whatever I feel like giving, and I can take as much as I want. But I think what I give and take adds something to me, replenishes me somehow so I have more to offer the people I love. I picture the blogosphere like space, and I can go out there anytime and get my batteries recharged by millions of stars, and come back a brighter person. And that's what friends are for.