I sit here in the early morning of the midpoint of Libby’s and my vacation. We’re calling for a bit of down time today. So I sitting here looking at my Facebook page and realize I have 588 “friends”. I remember when I started this silly social thing asking myself how could anyone amass these large “friend” lists?
Several years later now and looking back I can see how it’s done. Everyone we meet in life we leave an impression from some aspect of our life on someone else. There are family and friends of a personal level. There are co-workers, church family. There are friends that spring up from our mutual likes, such as cars or music. There are so many ways to develop friends of whatever we encounter.
Life tends to change as well. Who we once were and who we are now folds over pages in our lives that covers up friends from our past and reveals friends of out present.
I sit and think of probably the most enduring friendships were made while in school. I didn’t realize that years later I would reconnect with so many of them. When you’re from a school that contained all twelve grades in one building you tend to get to know everyone no matter what grade. Although age at the time may be a deciding factor as to whether you are “buddies” or not, later in life age becomes a backseat partner in the ride of life. We grew up together.
Church. I spent the large part of my adult life in a church where people came and went like water under a bridge. Thirty years I sat under a ministry that taught me a lot about God, others and myself. From that I’ve learned in Bibilical principles has changed me most of all. From a young man with self in the forefront to one who cares more for people than I ever figured I could achieve. The people from this time have been kept in my heart because I saw the highs and lows of many who found freedom or found their disdain for the same. I defeated my biggest fear of standing before people to speak. I fear no man when I stand to speak the Word of God. It is He who speaks through me. What I allow through my mouth is not my own, so I learned the consequences of what I say, as long as my heart is pure in it, are heard and either accepted or rejected. It’s not me the people react to. It’s God they react to. But I’m rambling.
Work. I’ve worked many jobs and connected with far more people than likely any other avenue. From construction to where I am now sends my mind through a plethora of faces and names. This includes my military time as well. I’m sure anyone with military in their past can say there are a lot of people we made some degree of contact with, even if briefly. Where I work has had a cosmic effect on me. I’ve been at the Naval Hospital going on thirty years in the same building. I’ve seen most everyone I worked with back then leave into retirement, go to another place of work or unfortunately die. The ones who have died leave me with a much more sober look at life. A handful of them had become close friends.
What can I say? Well. I’m trying to reconnect and connect with people from my past who mean or should mean a lot to me. Some of them are “fringe” friends. Some I’ve never met personally, yet I feel, as my wife does as well, are as close to me as if I’d known them from just down the street. Here’s just a couple that come to mind, so don’t be offended if you read this and didn’t get mentioned. You have to pardon my “old man” memory. Chad and Nicole and their son Cash. They live in Minnesota and we’ve never met in person, but they feel to us (Libby and me) as close as friends can be. Trish Brooke, with whom Libby and I met through blogging as well seems like someone who shares our own likes and dislikes.
Libby and I have developed our own set of friends since our divorces. When we married finally I had no idea we could draw a crowd of eighty people. But we did. That was amazing to me that that many people would take time out of their busy schedules to come and enjoy Libby’s and my marriage. God bless ’em.
I can’t do justice to what my thoughts are on this subject. My mind is too full.
One thing I thank God for is my relationship with my younger son. I just wish my older son could give up on the bitterness he hordes against me. I’m sure back then I hurt people, but I was diagnosed back then with anxiety attacks and severe depression. I no longer have these issues and feel solidly on my feet as I enter the last years of life. God has allowed me to lay a solid foundation under me with people who care about me and would help in times of need. I have no fear of growing old. I have Libby to count as my biggest blessing in life. If I may be so crude she’s the closest most loving woman I’ve ever known who has vowed to wipe my butt when I can’t for myself if it comes to that.
That may sound like I’ve lost my mind, but I remember when my step-grandfather was in the final stages of Alzheimer’s I stopped in one day to see him and my grandmother of 78 years old. She asked me to help her change his diaper. Such dedication to someone you love is hard to find sometimes. I think you get the picture. She lived to serve him. She was hospitalized a couple of weeks or so after his death and she died not long after in the hospital. She told me she was tired, but I knew she was not going to leave Jamie without someone who cared for him as long as he was alive.
Friends. I have many in all the stages of knowing who they are and what they mean to me, but I care for them all the same. Except for Libby, of course. Here I go. She’s my number one. No one can or will hold a light to her and darken her image to me. I count her as being sent from God to preserve my life to a longer life so that I can serve Him still.
God bless all my friends no matter who you are.