Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Good people

People who stop by here regularly know that blog friend Kelly and I have been friends for pretty much our entire lives. We grew up together in church and school and have managed to stay in touch lo, these many years.

She and I were texting back and forth recently about different old friends and I commented on what an eclectic group of friends she has. She maintains friendships with folks from her various stages of life, including friends from our childhood and youth who were not necessarily friends with each other.

Truth be told, I'm much the same way. I have been fortunate enough to have relationships from the various times in my life -- childhood, college, law school, two summers in the mountains and various jobs I've had -- and to have maintained a number of those relationships. A number of my friends are not friends with each other, and that's OK.

This doesn't mean I'm in touch with everyone who I was ever friends with. There are some who simply have not reciprocated my efforts to stay in touch and I've accepted that. But for those who appreciate a Christmas card or occasional note, email or text, I enjoy keeping up.

And for those who seem to have dropped of the face of the Earth, I'll be thrilled if they happen to resurface. In fact, just this week I heard from a lady I worked with 20-plus years ago but with whom I had not spoken in years. It was great to talk with her.

I am not on social media, e.g. Facebook, Instagram or any of that, but through this blog I've managed to make a few friends too (as has Kelly). I really enjoy that.

Anyway, I've felt especially fortunate over the past few months to have had personal visits from a few friends from various times in my life. As I think back on those visits, I realize how different those folks are. There was one person who leans waaaaay to the left and another who leans waaaay to the right, and there are some that fall somewhere in between.

I love them all. While I used to get worked up about differences in politics, theology, thoughts on the economy and such, I am finally mature (I hope that's it) enough to not let it bother me anymore. If someone wants to engage in a discussion about any of these things, and I realize we have a difference of opinion, I'm happy to go on with the conversation, but I'm also happy to avoid those topics if things are too awkward and uncomfortable. There are plenty of other things we can talk about.

Fortunately, even with those I disagree, I can usually find some common ground. (Maybe I should run for Congress).

For the most part, if a person is kind, I like that person. Unkindness (is that a word?) is about the only thing for which I have almost no tolerance. I just don't have time for people who are not kind.


Debby said...

I don't understand unkindness. The world seems a lot meaner than it really has to be. Hi Bob! Shout out to Kelly, too. My blog reading has slipped.

Ed said...

I probably don't do enough to stay in contact because it seems as if the vast majority of my friends are current friends. Those in the past sometimes surface now and then and we say hello but for the most part, the only way I really know them anymore is through social media. Perhaps following someone on social media is the reason I don't attempt contact through other means? Definitely food for thought.

I have lots of friends way left and way right of me for some reason. Many of them I end up just listening to their rants because they aren't really the type to have rational discussions on sensitive topics. However a few of them are more open and we discuss things of which we do agree on and dance much closer to sensitive topics that we don't. However if anyone of them asks me what I truly believe on a subject, I tell them. I have always felt that if I can't defend my own belief, perhaps I need to open my mind to the possibility I am wrong.

Kelly said...

The older I've gotten, the more tolerant and mellowed I've become... but I also stand more firmly in certain convictions.

As large as my group of friends seems, many are only a "once a year" contact. And we both know why it's easy for them to remember my special day. ;) Sometimes I wonder where the line is between true friends and just being friendly acquaintances. Of course you I consider a true friend!

sage said...

Go ahead and run for Congress! I actually have a friend and former parishioners running for Congress in PA this year.

I’ve made a lot of friends on blogger, while facebook allows me to keep up with a lot of older classmates, few of whom have read my blog posts.


BrightenedBoy said...

I was just thinking not too long ago how much harder it would be to keep track of the many friends I've met over the years without the benefit of social media, and the fact that you've been able to manage it is really commendable. Sometimes I wonder how people did this before the advent of Facebook, which first became prominent when I was in high school. I imagine that, during that time, people had smaller friend groups or were more selective about whom they kept in their lives.

As to the politics thing, I'm with you to a point. People are more serious about politics now because politics is more serious, and the stakes are a lot higher than they were in, say, the 1990s. Both of my brothers, for instance, would lose their health insurance if Obamacare were repealed, and they have very strong feelings about that issue. But who wouldn't, in that boat?

I'm friends with a number of people on the other side of the aisle, but most of them were kind of drive-by voters; they didn't like the direction the country was going, so they took a chance on Trump not knowing what the outcome would be. That I can understand. What I find really hard to get past is the people who knew what he was about from the get-go and were totally on board with it. I don't know. Certain stuff is just a bridge too far. These aren't normal times and a lot of very ugly true colors are coming out.