Saturday, April 2, 2011

How To Forge A True Friendship

Small girls flutter in and out of rooms in pink dresses while their Mamas sit and talk long over tea and friendship. We are looking through the Bible, and Carey comes across the perfect verse:

" Although I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink; instead I hope to come to you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete." (2John 1:12)

She reads and I squeal. I am so excited I hug my friend, because that's it. In a day of emails and facebook and all those other forms of electronic communication, something is lost. I use facebook frequently and email less,  and I do see the value and joy these tools have brought into my life and so many others' lives. Never has it been easier to "reach out and touch someone." How happy it has made me to reconnect with so many friends and loved ones.

That being said, there is something in a look, a hug, the small gestures that welcome and embrace that can never be transmitted electronically. There is something very sterile and unstable about the nature of  facebook that can quickly falsify the true nature of friendship.

Instead of solid connections being forged, it is all too easy to define self -worth by red squares and circles with numbers in them. How many likes? How many comments? How many messages in the inbox? And this constant inconsistency contributes to the addictive nature of facebook: "I'll just post one more comment, check my messages once more, etc..." Does that sound familiar?

Then there is the whole nature of communicating on facebook- not usually in thoughtful, well-written "letters." It's more like fragmented grunts and truncated thoughts randomly strewn. Welcome to the world of electronic ADD!

I write at the risk of being a hypocrite. After I post this, I will promptly "share" it on facebook, because it's an easy way for friends to know when I've written a new post. I might "chat" with my husband, who is overseas and with whom "real" contact is not possible right now. That's a good thing. Wine is a good thing, too (in my opinion), but not ten gallons at a time!

As I write this, I am becoming more convicted of the need to foster whole friendships that edify and affirm through the touch of a hand, the dimple of curved smile, the hearty laugh and throwing back of head, the soft shoulder for a drooping cry. All the sentiments welled up and overflowing in the hearts of kindred  spirits can never be satisfied by the click of a mouse.