I like to check in on FB regularly. Not everything is of interest or pleasing to me. In fact, I canceled my membership (or is it a subscription?) for about a year and then rejoined. I don’t care for the political extremes, and I’d rather hear personal words than cute quotes in commercial form. But I crave just being able to keep up with friends and colleagues. Especially, the personal revelations that come from municipal colleagues and high school friends – including those from Linda’s school. Here are a few things I’ve learned:
Deep Faith. Not to my surprise since I generally knew this about my municipal family, my friends share their faith without reservation. Unabashedly. One of the blessings being around people of faith is when you are asked to pray for them or they respond to our posts that they are praying for us. Whether the giver or the recipient, you realize the world might be in shambles yet there is a circle of people firmly rooted in a world IN the secular world but not OF it. To have a friend since the third grade who will respond immediately with a need being expressed feels comforting and protective to me, like the quiet of well insulated home with threatening winds trying to intervene.
Loving Families. I get lifted high daily as friends post pictures of their family events. Many of these are from cheerleaders Linda used to coach who now have three or more kids. I am touched as I get to celebrate sports victories and gymnastic achievements posted by an excited parent extending an invitation for us to share the moment. Many of my friends and colleagues also share their pictures and stories about their adult children in the context of obvious close bonds and often simple but rock solid lives. Since our immediate family circle is relatively small, my FB friends and colleagues allow me to be part of their family tree so we can have a large extended family. I’ve been to Norway, Germany and dozens of other places with my FB friends recently even though I have not left home. I have also celebrated anniversaries and birthdays, and felt privileged to be there to witness the candles being blown out.
Pets, Pets, Pets. As an animal lover with four cats, we get to confirm that Linda and I aren’t just odd balls. Many of our friends love their pets. No, they worship their pets. We get to laugh when we see a room destroyed by a dog while our friends get to clean up the mess! We also get to grieve with our friends when they have lost a pet. There is a unity of spirit as we have felt their pain and know the depth and sharpness of hurt and loss that has to be experienced since words are so inadequate. We also know there is something beyond intelligence that pets possess that lets them know if you don’t feel well or just down in the dumps. For someone to reveal that deep personal loss, as well as the joy of a new pet) makes them a special friend.
Humor! “Where do people find this stuff or think of this funny story” is a worn out phrase in our household. Linda and I regularly hear the other bust out in a belly-laugh and have an urgency to hear what they just read on FB. One of the latest that had me waking myself up laughing as I thought about it after I went to sleep was titled “How I Learned To Control My Curiosity.” It was about a guy walking past a mental hospital when he heard the patients yelling out the window “13 … 13 … 13 …” The wall around the hospital was too high to see so he found a hole in the fence and pressed his head close to get a view. Then somebody poked him in the eye with a stick! As he reeled back he then heard them scream with joy “14 … 14 … 14 …” Folks, that’s my kind of humor. LFM