Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.
people are all the same,
Those are the lyrics to the theme song from the T.V. show “Cheers”. The lyrics speak to our common longing. We want to be known, we want someone to know who we are. We all want friends. And yet, in our culture today friends, real friends, are hard to find and even harder to define.
Today I had lunch with one of the guys from our church. He welcomed me with this question and a troubled frown, “Do you consider us friends or just acquaintances?” That beginning didn’t bode well for the visit to follow. The reason for his question was the awareness that he really doesn’t have many friends and was I one of them?
Friends are rare. Real friends that is. It takes years to get to know someone and often longer to really trust them. Chuck Swindoll said, “If you have eight men at your funeral who don’t look at their watches you had a good life.” Isn’t it sad that most of us have so few we connect with, even fewer who know us and care about us.
In the last two weeks I have visited with several of our men and in the visit asked them, “So, do you have any friends?” Both answered, to my amazement, “No”. How sad that we live in a culture surrounded by others and no one knows us, no one cares. How have we let this happen? Why are we so fearful of the emotional intimacy a friend would offer?
It’s even worse for our young adults. They have grown up with electronics between themselves and others. Many have thousands as “friends” on Facebook, but know no one personally! It’s a tragedy that is beginning to reveal itself in the suicides of lonely people with thousands of “friends” who have never met them.
So how do we move from this loneliness to relationship? How do we connect in a way that bridges the chasm we feel between us and others? And, even more important, what is a “friend” anyway? That question was one we asked our waiter today as my friend and I discussed our relationship. Even our young waiter didn’t really know.
Here’s a project for you to work on, an assignment if you wish: Write down on a piece of paper five names of people you consider friends. Then, call them. Talk to them. Tell them how important their friendship is in your life. No, you can’t text them or send them a note on Facebook. That’s missing the point entirely. You have to talk to them. Really talk to them…and even better…meet them for a meal. It will make a difference in your life you never imagined. It will refresh your soul and brighten your day!
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.