When I was in elementary school, the friend title wasn't given to just anyone, and furthermore, once the title was established, only a very serious infraction could bust the bond. Even when Jim Riddle started liking my friend instead of me, I blamed Jim and not Debbie. There was margin for error, and forgiveness was easy.
Unlike Facebook, where Internet users accept friends like Trick or Treat candy on Halloween, I cherished my friendships, and the more my family moved around, the more effort it took for me to grow and develop meaningful friendships, but friends were a huge part of my life.
Even now, I could make a list of all the girls that I called friends when I was in grade school, just as easily as I could back then. Just the same, I could name my favorite people in junior high and high school.
Interestingly, I feel like if I were to reignite the friendships that have since been long lost, we would just pick up from where we left off, send each other notes folded up like origami, and delve into cups full of Dr. Pepper and bags of Nacho Cheese Doritos unconcerned with the caloric intake.
Our evenings would be spent talking about family and life, and trying on clothes from the closets of the other. We would belt out songs by Steely Dan and Peter Frampton while trying out new hair styles using a hot curling iron and orange foam curlers.
Friendships were simple and well guarded. Phone conversations were sacred. Notes included words that had meaning. Relationships took time, effort, love, and nurturing.
Who are your friends? Are they the 328 you have on Facebook or the 207 following you on Twitter? Have cards sent through the US Mail been replaced by a text written with words half written and e-mails that are brief and passionless?
We all need friends. We all need to be a friend. How can I be a real friend today, beyond the text and Twitter, like Jesus, like it used to be?