There is an ancient intimacy in the air these days and, ironically, it is borne from the most contemporary aspect of our lives – technology.
As I was sitting next door with some of our newest friends, I was remembering that recently, I’ve gotten in touch with some of my oldest friends. This year, I’ve come in contact with people with whom I’ve had no contact in over forty years. The truth is, my entire life is coming together into one whole being. It’s a powerful thing to witness and experience; and I’m not alone.
Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, blogs, e-mail, Ancestry.com, and so many other on-line venues have opened doors I thought were forever closed. How is it possible that in this day and age, we are now able to join hands with people from around the globe and those who have populated our personal history while simply sitting in our home office?
What does it mean that the Universe has conspired to bring everyone we’ve ever known together, some of whom have been vitally important in our lives?
Here’s what I think:
The world truly is getting smaller. It’s a cliché, but at this point, it’s nonetheless true.
We have created a system through which we are responding to our call for deep intimacy. We have seemingly lost so much in our lives, we are trying to reconnect with those who meant so much to us.
We are manifesting unity in its greatest sense. We have chosen a path toward joining hands in the most inclusive and expansive manner. The internet is providing us the tools by which we are able to manage these connections in a valuable, meaningful, and tangible way.
We are acknowledging our fear of being alone. We have spent so many nights in our homes wishing there was someone closer with whom we can talk that we forced ourselves to figure out an alternative. We began that process of staying closer when we began to write our thoughts on stone and paper. We continued our gains in that direction as we developed the telephonic medium. We sent out our newest town criers on the television. Now, we have become more direct through our instant messages and e-mails.
We want a friend. In years gone by, we flourished as we lived with Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt Susan and Uncle Dan, Mom and Dad, and all our brothers, sisters, and cousins. Our children knew who they were because they knew who their family members were. We didn’t live thousands of miles away, risking the loss of our sensory memories about those we loved the most. This continuing need transcends culture, country, or class. We are begging for that reunion with our past in this high-speed, digital way.
We may now be able to admit our need for one another with gratitude, rather than embarrassment. In this epoch of independence and self-sufficiency, we are valiantly trying to reach out our hands shamelessly to someone we love, or at least, loved once upon a time. I hope this is a direction we continue to pursue. It certainly seems to be.
Let us all take a deep breath and take the risk. Let us say to those we miss, “I love you, and I miss you, and I want to see if we can rekindle our friendship.”
Unity is not just a concept. It is a need, like air, water, and food. Breathe in the love. Sate yourself from the refreshing well of joy. Feast at the huge table of friendship that is always prepared for us when we are ready by those who have loved us, as it often turns out, all along.
It seems strange that after thiry-plus years, a friend can begin questioning the motives of someone who has seen them through every life event that can happen, including births, deaths, romances, jobs, and everything in between.
A word. A difference in opinion. A misunderstood intention. These are all things that can challenge the best of friendships; but, to end a friendship all together? That doesn’t make any sense to me at all.
We met in college. She is nine years older than me and left her home state to begin a new life. She was sitting in the student union reading a book and taking notes. I walked up, waiting for the listening room to become free so that I could listen to an album I simply didn’t have the money to purchase for myself.
I asked her for a match to light my cigarette. It was 1977 and we could still smoke indoors at that time. She looked at me as though I wanted to steal her baby. She didn’t say one word, but handed me the book of matches that was sitting next to her on top of her cigarettes.
Her remoteness somehow tickled me no end. I truly enjoyed how she attempted to keep her distance, so, as the instigator I was, I began talking to her. To every question I posed, she responded in curt, one-word answers.
It wasn’t too long before my room became available and I expressed my gratitude for the match and the conversation, thereafter taking my leave of her.
Several months later, I ran into my old roommate from college who said that he had just gotten a new apartment. I knew he couldn’t afford a dwelling on his own, so I asked if he had a roommate. He said that he had found a female friend with whom to share the two bedroom place. He invited me over to see the new digs, so I accepted the invitation.
The night I went to see my friend, I was greeted at the door by the woman from the student union. I laughed uproariously and asked, “Do you remember me?”
She said she did and we talked about the coincidence that we both knew the same person.
Since that time, with periods of quiet time, we have been friends. I was the first to know she was pregnant. I was the first to hold her child. I stood with her as we buried her brother. She stood with me as I married my husband.
We are friends. In truth, we have been more like family. I suppose now we are estranged family.
She is angry at me and although with most people, one would assume that the storm will blow over and the waters will calm. It’s different with her.
Once bitten, twice shy. She hangs on to real or perceived hurts for a lifetime. No one gets back in once they’ve become the source of her pain.
I’ve made mistakes and in this situation, I made some thoughtless ones; however, she didn’t have all the information, but she wasn’t at all interested in hearing what I had to say.
Thankfully, I love her enough to understand that she has her own process and that whatever choices she makes are hers, even though they may adversely affect me, as well. So, I send her off with my blessings and pray for God’s grace to keep her safe and healthy. We had a good run and now it’s over. I’m grateful to God and to her for thirty-two wonderful years. I have been repeatedly blessed by her presence in my life.
Good luck, my friend. Find peace. I love you and always will.
Author’s Note: In 2011, my friend contacted me to tell me she had leukemia. She asked me stand with her son no matter what happened. I promised I would. Sadly, she lost her battle with cancer and died in January 2012. I officiated at her graveside funeral. I will miss my friend, and true to my statement when I wrote this piece, I love her and I always will.