unfriending the ST

facebook, myspace, etc. etc. have introduced a new cultural phenomenon that I’ve yet to come to grips with : the “removal” of friends from your life. 

In the real world, the concept is fairly vague.  People make friends in stages and steps and the lose them in a similar manner.  People move, lives change, you interact and intersect with these people less and less until you no-longer really consider them friends.  However, you never formally declare that friendship over-and-done.  There’s no need, it’s just understood.

Now that we have websites where we specifically list all of our friends, one by one, we have introduced the dilemma of when to remove someone as a friend.  In most cases, online friend connections languish even when the friendship has long since faded away.  They are the Langoliers of web friendships.  Sometimes you remove someone because they were only tangentially your friend : someone you met at a party once but never talked to again, a boyfriend or girlfriend of a friend that they’ve long since broken up with, etc.  But, in general, it’s not a big deal because it’s likely to not even be noticed that the connection was severed.

However, when someone has ticked you off, when they’ve been so heinous that they no longer deserve to be linked to your life there comes the decision of whether to completely cut online ties and clicking that box that sends them into the virtual trashbin.  I’ve had to face the hard version of this decision twice in the past year… the second time being today.

Was ST that bad?  No.  We had a wonderful friendship at one point, one that I will remember as one of the most inspiring and rewarding that I’ve had in my life.  It is exactly that overwhelmingly great value I discovered in that friendship that makes it so hard to let go of.  But the relationship, the friendship, rapidly spiralled into oblivion in a painful torrent of miscommunication and misunderstanding that cannot undergo love’s recovery.  And today it was formally declared that there’s no point in continuing a friendship between us.  We are two people who have lost reciprocal faith in the other person’s actions and words being motivated by the open and honest expression of care, affection, responsibility, respect, commitment, and trust. 

As silly as it sounds, it is time to unfreind ST.  Isn’t it enough just to say goodbye in person?  Instead, I have to click a prompt declaring that “yes, I really do want to remove this person as a friend”.  Thank you, digital world, for adding another (slight) layer of complexity to our personal lives. 

psalm veintitrés

Numerio 23 happens to be my great-grandfather’s favorite psalm.  He and his wife would read it together every night before they went to bed.  Pa has been a regular church-goer for as long as I have known him, which happens to be about 28% of his life.  I suppose I’ve always thought of him as the patriarchal leader of what scant faith our extended family displays.  But I’d never really given a lot of thought to his faith until this week.

To be honest, I’ve never quite known where most of my extended family (roughly 30 of us) stands with respect to Christianity.  Led by Pa, with hands joined and mouths drooling over whatever deliciousness was spread out on grandma’s counter tops, it had become tradition to recite the words to the lord’s prayer prior gorging ourselves.  Some would recite the words whole-heartedly, and some of us would mumble through not quite sure when to be thankful for temptation and where ask to be delivered from his kingdom.  I always found this odd, given that religion isn’t a subject that I remember ever having more than one or two surface level conversations about with anyone besides my sis, mother & father.  Maybe we’ve always just assumed that everyone believes something similar, and that’s good enough… even though it does not at all reflect reality.  I think it might have been just one of those things we did because Pa wanted us to, and that’s as good enough reason as any.

Since I have jettisoned my faith in Christ, the recitation of a prayer that means nothing to me has made me fairly uncomfortable, but I would mumble through out of respect and love for my Pa.  But there was no faith behind it, which makes me feel like a liar.  Going forward the lord’s prayer will forever remind me of him, and make me thankful for the time that I had with him.

We don’t know how much time he has left, but we know that his hours are short.  And it’s comforting to believe that he had the confidence that “goodness and love” did follow him all the days of his life.  If he will be dwelling in the house of the lord or not, I cannot say.  What I do know is that Pa will always dwell in the hearts of those of us who love him and are loved by him.

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
       he leads me beside quiet waters,

 3 he restores my soul.
       He guides me in paths of righteousness
       for his name’s sake.

 4 Even though I walk
       through the valley of the shadow of death,
       I will fear no evil,
       for you are with me;
       your rod and your staff,
       they comfort me.

 5 You prepare a table before me
       in the presence of my enemies.
       You anoint my head with oil;
       my cup overflows.

 6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
       all the days of my life,
       and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

$780 tears

I’m waiting to board a flight to STL via Washington D.C. to see my family. More specifically, to see my great-grandfather who has fallen suddenly ill and with a pretty dismal prognosis. I am scared that I won’t get there in time… despite my creative booking efforts, the earliest I could reasonably make it back to Illinois was around 10am tomorrow.

It sucks to be this far apart from the people you want to be with and there-for at a time like this.