The lasting effects of friends

     John Donne wrote centuries ago “No man is an island.” Sometimes I think we may run our lives in a fashion that we think we are an island.
     If we are blessed, we surround ourselves with family, friends, acquaintances, but are they really part of us and we a part of them? There are those who seldom find their way from their self-exile on their personal island to actually share with others a sunset, a walk on the beach or watching a kite bounce in the sea breeze.
     In the mirror sometimes I see the man looking back at me and wonder if he ever realized where he would be today.
     If the choices he made would add to the sands of an island exile or build bridges connecting him to the piece of continent making him part of the main, as Donne described. Have I broadened the world of the little boy that once stood there in the mirror or have I simply augmented his isolation?
     Sometimes in life though moments occur, things are said, news arrives that reminds us solidly, that Donne left an indelible footprint in the sand with his premise that no man is an island. No matter how isolated we may choose to become in life, in soul, in mind, we are connected.
     In years past it was by letter and phone calls, today our own private islands are equipped with an umbilical cord connecting us to the internet. As I sit at my computer screen, I can check the status of “Friends” on numerous websites and stay connected to see what is happening. I can find out the latest news without even carrying on a conversation because it is all there to see in bits and bytes.
     Does that make my island more connected or less connected? I can sustain an illusion of being connected to thousands of people now where before it was maybe a few dozen on Sunday at church or at musical events.
      I saw where this new technology helps me stay connected. While reviewing the myriad of sites where I stay connected. Some time ago I found a note from a childhood friend desiring to right some perceived wrongs and wipe the slate clean. That served as a wonderful bridge re-establishing connection.
      Sadly, on numerous occasions, I have learned of the passing of those who at some point in my life were in my close circle of friends but time and distance had moved us along in life. Those moments always leave me with the sense of loss that is expected. A deep spirit of melancholy will often walk in behind it. Thankfully though, just a little later I will feel the spirit of thankfulness that allowed us to share the walk that we did as I pan through the memories for the gold nuggets within.
      We are in a time when we need to realize that those who we hold close are the friends who will sustain us in times of trouble.
Those friends will be there to help us when we are in need, or protect our backs when folks are coming at us from what seems all sides.
     While we cherish old friends, if something happened in your town tomorrow, do you have a circle of people you could rely upon? Can you come together to make sure your town comes through a crisis? Say a tornado, a major fire, or some other unexpected happening? If not, I encourage you to start building that group of friends that care about your neighborhood, town, county, region. Those are the friends who will make a difference in your life in good times and bad.
      Help make a difference in your own life; make friends you know you can depend upon and together you can make a difference in the world you and your family call home. Live local – not on the internet.