I was going to talk about the tense situation in Egypt today, but when my friend Barbara Crafton hit the internet waves with her Almost Daily eMo, I reposted her words on Facebook, and decided to go in a different direction. Her words today are too well-spoken to be responded to, added to, or otherwise messed with.
Speaking of Facebook…
I am, as I said in an earlier post, generally not one to re-post, unless I come across a wonderful YouTube video or news item or something like that. I’m a “liker” and an occasional commenter on other people’s posts.
But a week or so ago, I came across a post by one of my friends that questioned how many of our FB friends were actually people who knew us, and invited us to comment by saying where we met her and then to repost the same request, inviting others to comment on ours. A lifelong student of social psychology and marketing—which in business, is social psychology with a purpose—I did.
I expected to see a variety of responses on my and other’s posts, reminding me of the variety of places I’ve been in my life and things I’ve done that I might have forgotten. I wondered, because I have a host of high-school friends, college friends, and more recently developed friends, all neatly segregating into groups with few overlaps, who would see the post and who would take the time to respond. A market researcher to the core, I already knew some of my friends’ patterns with respect to FB—I know pretty much who gets up, pops on and then goes to work, I know who works at home and could pop up at any moment, I know who is currently unemployed and can be found on FB virtually all the time. I even know who has gotten disgusted with FB and abandoned the whole thing.
But what happened stunned me, and I was a little embarrassed—certainly humbled. Whereas I’d followed what I’d understood “the rules” to be and posted brief comments on others’ pages like “Wesley Foundation, GSC” or “Christ Church” or some other geographic description of when and where, the timber of what I saw others write actually gave me pause.
The comments not only said when and where, but their first impressions or what they remembered of me in general—funny things, good things, things they would never have said at the time or couldn’t have. We humans are funny that way.
As I read, I remember thinking that I wished I’d known then how some of my college friends felt. (They, by the way, ended up the biggest group of responders…) Back in those days, I did far too good a job of putting up a confident facade, protecting a scared kid who never thought she was anything particularly special, a kid scared that if they only knew…they’d run the other way—a scared kid who is still alive and well in all of us.
I started that day feeling down, but by the end, I was bolstered by the warmth, the teasing, the memories. I thought about all the people I’ve short-changed—through the years and yesterday—people who could’ve used a kind word, people who don’t know how much I love them because I’m too busy or preoccupied to stop and tell them or I assume they know or I’ve decided that the fact that I love them doesn’t matter a whit. The old “you know who you are” isn’t necessarily true.
It’s the memories of time spent with friends—funny things done and said, comfort offered in times of grief, the ones who show up unexpectedly because they just “know” how something will affect you and they want to make sure you know that they know how you feel—that sustain us through hard times. Not the friends you necessarily see on FB, but you just might—the ones you somehow know you’ll see in your mind’s eye when you’re sitting in that rocking chair at 90.
You know. They’re the ones that make life worth living at all.