Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

This true story is for my best (female) friend.  You know who you are.  Merry Christmas!

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.
Victor Hugo

They were introduced after church…our new music directors, a young couple with impressive credentials: one with an excellent voice, one with impeccable piano/organ skills, both with different but complimentary people skills and a desire to build a wonderful music program.  They announced, as is always announced, that anyone who liked to sing or ring bells was welcomed to come to practice for choir, bell choir or praise team.  I thought I might try praise team. (more…)

Getting together with a friend is about the best way to start a day that comes to mind! Especially over a cup of tea (or coffee for her) and some unrushed sharing time. I was blessed to start my Friday that way, with a friend who I don’t see nearly as often as I’d like, but when we do get together, it’s as if we’ve never been apart.

Our friendship started when both our families attended the same church, although it was more like a mentoring relationship in those days. She was younger, wanting to accomplish things, to take on the world, sure that her way was right while still being a loving person, a cheerleader as opposed to my athlete. I was home schooling our girls. We were both teaching Sunday school, she originally as the superintendent, as I recall it. Although I had a lot of maturing yet to do (and still have more to accomplish in that area even today), I found myself listening, mediating, calming, talking. When she began working as the school librarian, we started meeting once a week in the library for prayer, prayer for our families, our friends, our church, our country and, probably, the world. We met at each other’s house, too.

Then she and her family moved, not far, but far enough that we weren’t within that easy distance for stopping by for a short while. Instead of five minutes or so, we were looking at an investment of twenty or more each way. I stayed busy home schooling, she took a part time job as a reference librarian, a job she kept telling me would be the perfect one for me some day.

But we still made the time to meet periodically. A Caribou Coffee was, although not equidistant, at least not too far out of her way, which brought her that direction sometimes anyway. It was the perfect place to meet, greet, catch up, pray again, make use of the time we had to keep our friendship not only alive, but the kind that works despite the distance and time; the kind where you know if you needed something or someone, you could call or email (I don’t text) the other person and if at all possible, she’d be there. We both have other friends, other things going on in our lives. But it doesn’t matter; we’re both secure enough in what we have to know that it’s important no matter what else is happening, no matter who else is there.

That type of friendship is worth much, especially in a world that grows busier every day, where communication, despite the plethora of ways it can be accomplished, is often sparse or facile, a Facebook world of sound bites and other people’s posts.

We met again Friday morning at CC at GG ( at Caribou Coffee at Golden Gate, the mall location), our shorthand for “our” spot, the place where along with our tea (for me) and coffee (for her), we imbibe the much more delicious and valuable drink of time together with a friend. Another brick in the wall of friendship. The perfect way to start a day!

Smart phone. Or is it smartphone? Or Smartphone with a capital “S”, making it a proper name and raising its level of importance? I know that as a single word, it isn’t recognized by my spell check and dictionary, which most likely only means that they’re out-of-date and I should be getting either a new laptop, a new spell check/dictionary or both. Or I have the option of adding words that my spell check for some odd reason doesn’t know.

Let me digress here for a moment. Don’t you love the choices that might be given you when spell check doesn’t recognize your word? For instance, if I type “pierogi”, the red line appears underneath, warning me that I have some sort of spelling issue. My first four choices are “peerage”, “pirogue”, “paregoric” and “peerage”. Would you like a“peerage” filled with mashed potatoes, onions and cheese? Yum! I’ve had better ones that this, ones that make me break out in laughter but I can’t recall what they were, so back to the smart phone.

The smart phone is smart, in a passive/aggressive way. It doesn’t really do anything; it just sits there, on the table, doing and saying nothing, at least for the most part. But even if it doesn’t make a sound, it inserts itself much too often into conversations between friends, spouses or colleagues. Oh, I can hear it now…”I didn’t do a thing. I didn’t ask you to look at me, to put my at your right hand so you could check sports scores (like the current commercial—ditch that boyfriend, by the way), market prices, the menu for the restaurant you’re already sitting in, whatever. You made the choice. It’s not my fault.” And it it’s right. You’re the one who looked. But that phone is much like Banquo at the feast, just “there”, floating around, terrifying people. It wasn’t his fault he was a ghost.

More than once I’ve been tempted to either take someone’s smart phone and hurl it across the room or alternatively, step on it—hard! I’ve wanted to tell the person that we chose to spend this friend time together, so let’s not waste it. Is whatever you’re looking at more important than our time and conversation together? If so, perhaps we could reschedule for a time when you’re less busy and your phone is on vacation. What? It never takes a vacation. Hmmmm, maybe you both should spend a little time apart. (I don’t mention “spouse” here as well as friend because my spouse has a not-so-smart phone as well, except for his work phone. On the other hand, he does have a PlayStation…but I won’t go there now.)

The bottom line is, it’s rude. If you’re expecting an important phone call, fine. Let me know when we sit down, take it when it comes and then put the phone away, somewhere you can’t see it, where it can’t drag your gaze away. Show me that you really value our time together, not that I’m impinging on more important things.

Last year I read two excellent books that discuss the problems of people, technology and connectivity. The first was “The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone)Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale”, by Susan Maushart. I laughed out loud quite often (and not LOL, either, thank you) and she has an entire chapter on her iPhone (aka smart phones; a smart phone by any other name….).

The second was “Hamlet’s BlackBerry”, by William Powers, also an excellent read. At one point, he fell into the water, losing his phone, and his consternation at not having a phone for several days was palpable at first but gradually he came to a sense of freedom. I can identify with that. Every summer we go to the mountains, to a spot where, although we finally have sometimes sporadic and always slow internet, my not-so-smart phone can’t get a connection. To make a call, we have to hike or drive to the “phone booth”, a spot on a ridge overlooking what seems to be the entire eastern part of Wyoming, where we can get a signal. Do I dislike that? Are you kidding? The freedom is amazing. And to be able to do this each year is a great reminder of what’s important and a chance to break free of the web of technology that threatens at times to never let us be free.

This is what I’m talking about. In the first paragraph of a New York Times review of “Hamlet’s BlackBerry”, (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/18/books/review/Winer-t.html), reviewer Laurie Winer says:

While reading “Hamlet’s BlackBerry,” I sporadically paused to check my iPhone — whenever its ping signaled the arrival of a new e-mail message. I hated to turn away from William Powers’s elegant meditation on our obsessive connectivity and its effect on our brains and our very way of life. But I did anyway.

I rest my case. Be smarter than your phone. And more considerate. Your friends will thank you!