Saturday, January 01, 2011

Where Do You Find Your Friends?

It was just a picture on Facebook. 

A simple picture with a graphic and a few words.

The picture spoke volumes.

It was a picture of Garfield holding a book and displayed these simple words: "Some of My Best Friends Are Books."

My first reaction was "How true!" Books do make good friends. They entertain you. They are always there when you reach out for them. They don't betray you or speak poorly of you. 


Then I had a second thought.

My second reaction was "How sad!"  How sad that for some (and by some I'm not referring to anyone in particular especially not the friend who had  the picture on their Facebook page) books really are their best friends. Why? Because books are safer to have as friends than real life people would be. If you don't get involved with people, you won't get hurt by people.  If you don't get involved with people, you won't risk putting yourself out there to help others who may need your time or support.

This got me to thinking some more. As we go through life, are we missing opportunities to be friends with real people? Are there people who sit at home reading books as a way to find 'friends' because we refuse to open our lives enough to let them in, to let in some real-life friends? 

I've also been thinking a lot lately about the term "Facebook friend". I'm guilty. I've 'renewed' many friendships through Facebook. I've also 'grown' many friendships through Facebook by connecting with people with common interests (like and becoming 'friends' on Facebook. Why? It's easy. Convenient. 

This past week I had the privilege and opportunity to share in a time of grief with a friend of mine from high school. Other than a reunion or two, we hadn't spoke in over 30 years. The cool thing was we were able to pick up like it was yesterday. The sad thing was that we only 'chatted' via Facebook's private messaging feature. No opportunity to verbally offer support. I was so happy God gave me the opportunity to be there for her yet the interactions made me long to be in the same room or at least the same town so perhaps we could share a supportive hug.

Books can't hug. Facebook (only) friends can't hug.

Little Lesson Life Expression
What kind of friends are you letting into your life? How will you encourage those who could be without real friends today? How will you encourage those who make 'friends' with books, not out of a well-balanced love for reading, but out of loneliness? What will you do in this new year to expand your circle of real-life, face-to-face friends? {Need ideas? Invite a single adult to your family celebrations, ask a senior citizen to lunch, have a game night including new members in your Sunday School class, seek out a hurting soul then offer a truly confidential listening ear, call someone you haven't seen or spoke to in years and catch up. Got a better idea? Leave a comment and help us all out.}

Proverbs 17:17 (Amplified Bible) A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity.