the best prayer of all

when i started my facebook friendship journey, it was january 2011 and i had 325 friends.  i figured it was a long distance run with a timer set at exactly one year.  i didn’t meet every single friend, but i got the asian f.

on the third episode of season three of the hit series glee, mike chang’s father demands mike be drug tested and drop out of the glee club because he has received an a minus on a test. mike and the other kids referred to the ninety percent grade as an “asian f”. one could say i got the asian f, because ten percent of my facebook friends didn’t get a visit from me. i was surprised to find out i was friends with spambots, dead people, prison inmates, and some friends who maybe just didn’t like me enough to make a facebook friendship a face to face friendship!




this past weekend, reveling in my newly minted homelessness, i visited rock island, illinois to see my facebook friends #27 eric fields and #9 heather tyler.  i don’t really think of my friends as being numbers but i found it was easier for me to keep track of what i was doing by giving a friend a number based on when i saw them.  my first facebook friend was my son eastman.  heather was the ninth person i visited last year.  eric was the twenty seventh.

sometimes when you have a goal that is really important to you and really big, it helps to divide it into smaller chunks and keep track of the small successes as they pile up.  many times i would look at the “number” of the friend i had just visited and look at the day of the year and i would think “i’m doing okay” which is a pretty good feeling to have!

eric and heather are married and live with eric’s family in rock island. recently, they have experienced an economic reversal: they need a place to live and some work. if you live in or around rock island, illinois, do you have any ideas for them?


after visiting with eric and heather, i went east to see my facebook friend #322 charles henry.  charles became my friend after january 1, 2011.  i got a lot of new facebook friends but i stayed focused during the year on the “original” 325 friends.

you might ask yourself why i would think it was so important to meet my facebook friends.  well, sure, there’s the inte-ma-lectual inquiry into the nature of social media and networking systems in the early twenty first century. . . but there’s also this:  i was a fifty year old empty nester with no reason to open the front door except to welcome the pizza delivery guy.  i was scared to leave the house and i consoled myself with the delusion that i engaged in the world and had an active social life because, hell, i had 325 friends on facebook.  and when i left the house i got crushing panic attacks.  absolutely convinced i’m having a heart attack.  terrified of the world.  ready to cry and scream.  i still do that all the time, but i am learning to just keep driving.

charles shares some of my problems:  he has panic attacks when he leaves his “safe” area which is a radius of about two miles outside of his home.  he has panic attacks when he has to wait out a red light.  he went through a period of being housebound when he was younger and then, after many years of feeling great, he again struggles.  he has been unemployed and he is working through a divorce.  one would think meeting him would be a downer.  one would be wrong.

facebook friend #315 tony tyner, #71 bonnie bradlee, me and #322 charles henry met at charles’ home. we had a lot of fun and next month, charles will pick out a restaurant outside of his safe area and we’re going to do this again! oddly, on august ninth i’ll be having lunch in a manhattan restaurant with a facebook friend who is housebound in staten island. she has been opening up her boundaries a lot in preparation!


one of the many things we talked about was faith and our respective relationships with God.  although we four have differences, we agreed that the best prayer begins with “thank you for. . . ”

what’s your prayer for today?

11 responses to “the best prayer of all

  • Telha

    I live in the same situation. Just like Charles I had the panic attacks, then went through a period where I was really well and could go anywhere without fearing or having any panic attacks at all. Then it came back and Ive been housebound for a while, I got to expand my safe zone a lot for a while, then I regressed a little.
    Today Im thankful that Ive been feeling a little more courageous to leave home and go to new places. Yesterday I was looking for a place for my wedding celebration.
    Ive been with my fiance for 8 years now. He met me in the time I was doing great and stuck with me when I hit rock bottom and helped me all the way back up (not that I feel on top but Im getting there), we wanted to get married since our 1st month together but didnt have the money or the maturity for it. Now that we do (still working on the maturity tho lol) we’re gonna make this happen, and although I still struggle a lot to go out, especially for an occasion like this that will make me very anxious, Im still confident and am preparing myself to face it, not run away from it. It is my dream after all!
    God’s speed!

  • beyondmd aka Heartblaze

    gratitude opens whole new doors. . . and windows, too!

  • Bruce Cohen and Friends

    Good to see your thankful everyday Arlynn, I try. I was listening to a show on WBEZ last night and they were talking with an ex Soldier in Iraq that wrote a book on his time served there defusing bombs and how the rush left when he came back and how it was a very tough experience on him as others with different reactions coming home from different wars. You might want to seek out more soldiers and help with there PTSD, anxiety, ext.? I am now writing part 2 of a Wilco, Andrew Bird review blog because the first one didn’t auto save and when publishing just dissolved into a blank page, sucks. Ever happen to you on WP?

  • William Taylor

    My prayer is that EACH one of you finds the strength I have found in my realization that ALL things, or conditions psychological have ONE thing in common. It’s ALL in your head! If you take this ONE fact into consideration, you gain power! I sometimes suffer from Bipolar episodes, BUT I CONTROL by keeping in mind the knowledge of recognizing it for what is. THEN think this ; “I am NOT going to let this thing control me!”

  • Tony Tyner

    I’m thankful for the lunch gang! Do you have a larger size copy of that photo you can send me? Thanks Arlynn.

  • Bonnie Bradlee

    I second what Tony said, about the lunch gang! It’s been a while since I was part of a “gang.” I think I like it!

  • Pink Ninjabi

    Thank you for writers like you. I mean, wow, we all have the delusion that the number of facebook friends means number of friendships. This doesn’t determine quality at all. Thank you for reminding us of that. And for um, forgiving me for being missing in action as now that me gots a real job with actual work, I’m not able to read blogs as quickly. Oy… 😀 But I do think and pray for your happiness often. Miss you!


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