This week brings me yet another birthday. They seem to come quicker and quicker these days. 🙂 Every year when my birthday rolls around my heart’s greatest gifts are my family and friends that have taken this journey of life with me. Friends are important to who we are; who we want to become; and they mark our past like signs on a highway. Some of the greatest joys of my life have come with friends as well as some of my greatest heartaches.
I have some friends that I haven’t seen in years and the when I do, it’s like we never missed a step. Yet there are other friends that I see often yet seem so far away from me as I hardly know them.
I have ridden the glorious road that has taken me through this journey of life surrounded by friends. I have friends and family and we may be separated for years and yet when I see them it is as mere moments have passed as we share the love between us. Friends and family like Terry, Tonya, Rhonda, Joseph, Big Rick, Ron, Debbie, Buena, Lawrence, Jeff, Barbara, Shari, Jim, Paul, Patrick, Rod, Forrest, Stephen, Glen, Jeff, Tommy, Jo Anne, Steve and Gary, Maria, Angela, Belinda, John, Lou, Phillip . . . The list goes on and on. Friends are treasures that enrich our lives.
One friend above went from a business associate to a dear friend. His name was Lawrence Muirhead. I met “Larry” as we call him almost 10 years ago. He was a handsome bull of a man, a bit gruff on the outside sometimes but with a heart of pure gold. As our relationship developed we talked more and more about God. When I visited Arizona in 2008 Larry and his newlywed wife Apple accompanied me to visit my dear friend Tommy Barnett at his church at which time Larry gave his heart to the Lord. The reason I share this is that this past winter Larry was brutally murdered leaving behind a widow and 2 small children. It makes me sad and angry that his life was taken from him, but joyful in the fact that I was there with him that night in 2008 when his eyes filled with tears full of the love of Jesus Christ. When I heard that he was brutally murdered I cried, but mixed with the tears of pain, were tears of joy as I know that he had a relationship with his Savior.
In this modern age of technology much of the definition of what a friend is has been redefined by social media. We have Twitter, Facebook, and vast other connections and resources in this electronic wonderland in which we live. So called friends are both expanded and withdrawn as some are trivialized while others are expanded into close friendships into far-reaching corners of the world as we connect via the internet. It is easy to recognize that a close one-on-one personal relationship is difficult but not impossible on such a large scale.
I will admit that my friendships have been defined in most of my life with those that I have had personal contact with, but there are new definitions of friendship to be discovered now and in the dispensations to come as the electronic and human elements are molded together via electronic airways across the planet.
There are those that theorize that social networking disembodies friendship, but I do not totally agree with that. The good thing is that we are still able to connect on a personal level one on one with those around us on a daily basis. There is a new aspect to friendship that is being redefined even as you read this for the age in which we live.
In life as we relate to friends we are to create self-portraits that we wish others to see. We are able to show and define ourselves as we wish to be seen by others. These self-portraits we paint can expose our truths and hide our faults; they can clarify who we are or we can use them to distort the truth as we want it to be seen. Social media offers us the opportunity to express ourselves either in egotism or modesty. There are some us that enhance or exaggerate our own importance, power, and reputation. There are others that make themselves seem silly, funny and humble, showing others that they have a humorous attitude towards themselves.
The digital self-portraits we create online are crafted and created from pixels and not from paint. We invite our online friends to look at and respond to the life we portray ourselves online. We create our online personalities to find and share friendship, love, and that ambiguous modern electronic thing called the internet connection. Like an artist that perfects his canvas, we constantly we change, update, and tweak our online information. Favorite scriptures, prayers, videos and quotes all clamor for our attention—and it is the timeless human desire for contact and interaction that is the theme of this online digital gallery.
The Word of God encourages us to seek the truth about ourselves, about our faith, and about who we are in our walk with the Lord. Today, in this electronic digital showcase where we are on display to the whole world, I pray that we may show ourselves to others as we would show ourselves before our God. To be a true friend in life, or online we have to be open and unpretentious. I believe to share our faith and help others, we have to be genuine. I have learned this myself, as I have been able to share the shame of some of my past online and in my blogs, and the Lord has used it to both heal me and help others.
So be yourself – honestly and truthfully. Friends are to be held dear as they hold and share with you the ups and downs of life. In this fast-moving digital age we sometimes find it easy to just “un-friend” someone who disagrees with our point of view in real life as we do online. Let the Spirit of God guide you. Let who you really are shine forth as the Lord is glorified in your words and deeds in this digital world. Friends are dear treasures and no matter how they come into your life, hold them close to your heart.
Ecclesiastics 4:9-12 Friends are very important. Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.