I’m sorry we screwed that word up. Friend is a precious word for a precious relationship. Now it has become just a large number of postings. Years before Facebook started “friending,” AOL screwed up the other good “man’s” word—“buddy.” Now that AOL is mostly used up, I’m happy I can once again claim that word for a few special people in my life.
But, back to that simple word, “friend.” Some prominent researchers have linked heart disease, cancer, viral infections, and higher mortality rate to loneliness and lack of social support. These same two researchers call close friends a “behavioral vaccine” that protects both physical and mental health. I believe that from personal experience. Even though most of my mother’s longtime friends have passed away, she still received 59 cards mailed to her on her 97th birthday last spring. She has had to move to a new younger group, but she cherishes her friendships and they cherish her. Emily Dickinson said, “My friends are my estate.”
I guess my fear for the youth I see hanging out together “texting” is the roots of friendship may be passing them by. Talking from the heart through one’s eyes is not the same as talking with your thumbs. Acquaintances, maybe after one meeting, go into one’s “friend list” on Facebook. It’s just a casual, low-relationship threshold meaning for an important word. I heard an anonymous quote recently, “I value the friend that for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar.” Now, that’s my kind of friend.
My old friend will always help me move. My good friend will help me move a dead body.