Thursday, February 4, 2016

Through It Together

A little about friends.

We all have them, some more than others. Some of the more social people I know have hundreds of friends, they attract them and collect them. Others have fewer and are quite content with their smaller circle. Most people, I would guess, are somewhere in the middle. Not shy introverts and not super social. Lots of friends with a few close ones.

I guess I'd put myself in that category or perhaps trending toward the smaller numbers of close friends. What I'm finding though is I have a diverse group of friends, many of which I cannot successfully mix and match. You know the two people you don't want to pair together. C'mon, you do.

I've got my church friends. Many of these cross over into other groups, but I've grown to really appreciate this group. A few weeks ago we had to miss a week or two of church, and I mentioned to Donna how I missed the folks in that group. We are a small church with a big heart for each other and the world around us. A couple days a month are devoted to making sandwiches and serving a meal to the guys at the Guest House of Milwaukee. Because we typically meet in what we call "house church" we all know what's going on in each others' lives. I love doing life with these people.

I've got my work friends. Next week I'll be at a statewide conference and reconnecting with some friends that I only see once or twice a year. We talk shop until we can barely stand it anymore then say goodbye until the next conference.

My Thursday coffee friends are among some of the closest, if for nothing else, we make a point to get up early one day a week and talk about life, God, philosophy, politics and home maintenance. Super small group, but one I treasure.

This same group plus two or three other guys meets once every couple of months for a couple beers. We talk about similar things, but it's usually a much more jovial gathering - less serious. Beer tends to do that.

My old, old friends. These can range from the guys I went to high school with, to the guys I worked at Montgomery Wards with, to my first "Waukesha friends," to my old Elmbrook Church friends, to my best fishing buddy who I've known for close to twenty five years. These friends are the ones I can pick up exactly where I left off with them last time. They'd all drop everything and help me if I ever had the courage to ask for help. I want them in my corner at crunch time.

Then there's my writing friends. These friends "get" me, They understand my need for writing and all of the thoughts and work that goes into it. I can pass ideas over them and they'll listen and not get that faraway look in their eye when I'm talking about metaphor and my struggles with the fiction genre. I can laugh with them about using the word "skate" seven times on one page and getting beaten up for it. They want to make me better and sometimes that takes a good beatin'.

Of course I cannot leave out my Facebook friends. There are times that these friends are just the answer to my "social need without social interaction". Not to say that I like virtual friends better, but rather that I can get a pretty good update about so many of them by taking a peek at Facebook. They cheer me on, laugh with me, recall old times with me and boost me when I need it. And if I don't want to talk at length, I give them a big "Thumbs Up" (which we all know means, I'm done here - quit talking now) or just turn chat off.

Most recently I met a few new poet friends through my Tupelo poetry challenge. These are folks I didn't know a month ago and now we have a common bond. I may only talk to them once a month or once a year, but they're part of my life now - at least in the virtual world.

There's probably four or five other groups I'm forgetting about. My point is that each of these groups meets a different need for me - and, I suspect, I for them. I can't imagine not having any one of the groups, and yet, I know because I drain easily, that I have to take each one in limited quantities. Some people don't have this and can never get enough "people time."

Next to family when it comes time to say goodbye to this place all we'll have is our friends. That's a philosophy I like to share with all my friends.

Speaking of friends, I have to go now. I'm meeting with the Thursday beer group.

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