Real Friendships

He flew over 3000 miles to be in my wedding.

She reminded me about the glucose gel packs I had bought for my husband.

They helped me raise $1500 for a mission trip to Nicaragua.

She corrects my spelling, grammar and usage every chance she gets.

Each of these people hold a special place in my life and heart. Most friends do. I have made many friends over the years, but I have made the above mentioned friends in the least likely of places. I didn’t meet them in a bar, at the grocery store, during church or while I was out on a morning walk.

I met them in a place that some say is “not real” or “scary”. I met them… online…. GASP! I discovered the joy of online friendships way back in 1989. I wasn’t even 15 years old yet when I struck up a friendship with a boy from Chicago. We were pen pals and we were best friends. The internet was unknown, but not scary back then. You had to be careful, but there wasn’t the stigma that there is now.

People tend to minimize the value of on-line relationships. Friendships made via the World Wide Web are written off as “not real” and the internet is “not real life”. While I have never sat at the same kitchen table with some of my friends, I have Skyped, messaged, texted, laughed and cried with these friends that are said to be not real. We have shared our secrets, sorrows and struggles with each other. We’ve celebrated the victories of life together.

When I was panicking over my husband’s low blood sugar, it was an online friend who reminded me of the glucose gel I had just bought, because we share that kind of stuff with each other.

I’ve struggled to find and join a bible study for years. I finally found that community online. My maid of honor was that boy I met in 1989.

My online friends have turned into real life friends, and I may have met more of my friends online than at church, but that doesn’t make them any less important. Few of these friendships have fallen away, because we are pretty okay with going long,periods without talking to each other. We know that with the click of a mouse or a text message, the other person will be there.

Being there, wherever you meet, isn’t that what friendship is all about?

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