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.
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!
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.
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?