As I take a moment to reflect on my 39th birthday, 366 days ’til 40, I am reminded how blessed I am to have so many wonderful people in my life. The advent of Facebook has created a forum for us to turn what in years past would have been “seasonal” friends into “lifetime” friends. I have had the opportunity to reconnect with individuals I have not been in touch with for years, and what a blessing and privilege it has been to have the opportunity to see into their lives.
A few years ago (3? 4?) I was able to reconnect with one of my best friends from Elementary school (the friendship continued through high school). We lost track of each other when I transferred high schools for my junior and senior years. Reconnecting has meant a lot on many levels. To be able to speak with someone who shares so many fond memories of childhood creates a certain gift of nostalgia. It is even more meaningful when you can then connect as adults and bridge both experiences into a very special friendship.
I have had similar experiences with many friends, particularly from my high school and college days. Seeing their lives, hearing about their jobs, children, spouses, and dreams (and even their occasional FB gripes!) has added a rich dimension into my life.
I have also had the opportunity to connect with family members – second, third and fourth cousins, that I might never have made contact with. I have had the opportunity to learn about their lives and get to know them through social networking. Facebook has given me the gift of getting to know my family.
I believe there are seasonal friends (friends who have a short purpose in your life during a particular time/ place/ or season) and there are lifetime friends (friends who stay in your life over time, sometimes weaving in and out, but always returning and there to offer words of encouragement and warm support and love). True friends are people who you can go years without seeing and pick up as though you had met for coffee yesterday. They are lights that shine into the dark corners of our life – and make life more bearable in the tough times and more joyful in times of celebration.
Today I want to pause and give thanks to all of my friends (and my family members who are also friends). Your presence in my life helped mold who I am today. I am eternally grateful.
As I approach 40, my hope is that I can give to my friends a portion of what they have given to me over the years… that the give and take would be balanced and that I will not lose touch. I also want to remember to take the time to let my friends and family know how much I love and appreciate them – life is too short to take anyone for granted.
With joy and gratitude~