In defense of the friend finder

A few months ago, a friend of mine from college sent me a message on Facebook.
“I found Mark and Karen!” she wrote. “And they’re married!”
I was a mix of surprise and totally not surprised. But mostly I was so happy for my two buddies from our single years. Immediately, I made a friend request, and within a few days, I was snooping around to find out what had become of my two friends.
I hadn’t seen Mark in nearly 15 years. I hadn’t seen Karen since right after I was married, about 13 years ago. Somehow, in all of their various moves to Russia, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas City and Arizona, we had lost track of each other.
I did a little snooping around Facebook, as any long, lost friend would do. I found out that after yeas of on-and-off dating, they had gotten married two years ago. I saw photos of them scaling gorgeous rocks in Arizona and looking like neither of them had aged one single day.
On Sunday, they sent me a message through Facebook. They were home from Arizona, visiting Karen’s mom who lives just a few miles from my house! Could they come for a visit?
I have to admit that this thought, at first, made me very nervous. I wanted to write back and say, “Yes, you can visit. But you have to understand. I’m 41 now! I have given birth to FOUR children! I drive a minivan. We might not have a very peaceful conversation. And my baby throws her food on the floor. It’s not always pretty.”
You see. There’s something very comforting about living inside this computer. There’s something very safe about hiding behind the wall of Facebook. There’s something nice and cozy about living inside my blog. I only have to show you the pretty parts. I only have to tell you what is nice and happy. And you can’t see my wrinkles or the food on the floor or hear the children argue.
Maybe my marathon-running, mountain-climbing, professional friends would shake their heads at my minivan and my house in cookie-cutter suburbia. My home-schooling, stay-at-home mom self was remembering my ambitious, carefree, single self, and I wasn’t sure if they would even recognize me. It had been so long.
As the time grew closer for their arrival, I started getting excited. “It’s Mark and Karen! Why am I worrying?!” I was thinking about heaven, to tell you the truth. It must be so fun to show up in heaven one day and see friends you haven’t seen in decades! It must be so fun to be reunited as one big family, never to be separated again.
And so with all of these thoughts fresh in my mind, I did what only I would do when they walked up to my door. I started crying. That’s one way to break the ice, I guess.
We immediately started talking about the time Mark put the car in reverse and spilled an extra large Coke all over my lap. The time Karen and I were roommates, and I spilled a big tray of enchiladas on the (very dirty) floor, then served them anyway to our dinner guests. The times Karen and I drove to St. Louis to meet up with Mark, who lived in Kansas City.
We laughed. And my heart was filled with so much joy at that immediate connection you feel with people who knew you before. They knew me before marriage. Before kids. When we were all young and had dreams and plans. And now, here we were, in our 40s, not doing what we had planned. And we were all old enough to realize those things didn’t really matter anyway.
We could pick up again right where we left off. We had all gone through heartache and pain and loss and joy and happiness, and we could meet again right where we were.
So, I had one of those days where I was happy for Facebook and the friend finder. And even happier for old friends who are new friends again.

dec2010emily

3 Responses

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