You have likely taken a Facebook quiz. They pop up on my timeline tempting me like candy in the check-out line of the grocery store. I’m asked to select a series of pictures to determine my personality. Or, I’m asked to rearrange the letters of my first and last name to determine my Star Wars name (No, I won’t answer to Thosa Kewar.) The quizzes may entertain me and definitely waste my time.
But, as we begin a new year, here’s my favorite: Your word for 2016.
One friend received “change” as their word for 2016. Another received happiness. So, I wondered, “What word would take front and center stage for me in 2016?”
While I don’t put ANY weight in typing my name into a little box and a word appearing that claims to be my “word for 2016,” I could take a minute to reflect on friendship.
Before I proceed, I neglected to take a screen shot of “friendship” as my word of the year, so I attempted it again. I typed in my name and…here were the results:
Umm, wait? I thought my word was friendship? Let’s try again…
How about trying again? Not very inspiring, Facebook. “Change” is a word that can mess with your head. So…
Now you’re talking, Facebook. But, really you’re sounding a bit like a horoscope from the Sunday newspaper (as if…)?
Oh, now Facebook is meddling with my destiny. Not cool.
Finally, a word with reverence, mystery, and possibility. But, wait, I thought my word was friendship?
You, dear reader, may be in for five more days of reflections as a result of my failed attempt at recreating my one, true word for 2016 (according to the random algorithm of an even more random Facebook quiz).
In case there is one soul on the face of this great big earth who takes those quizzes for anything more than fun, I am sorry I just ruined your world.
For the rest of you, forgive the digression.
Let’s get back to friendship.
Life is just better because of friends. They celebrate the little things and walk with you in the difficult times. More importantly friends love you for who you are, not who they want you to be.
Of course, that’s the nature of good relationships, isn’t it?
Maybe I’m thinking of friendships because of visits back home to Michigan where my parents talked about their friends they have known for a lifetime. Or, because “getting together with the girls” for lunch or dinner started in December, 1990 and continues 25 years later. Sure, the time and number of people around the table continues to change, but, the friendships remain. Or, maybe friendship is on my mind because of the simple text messages and Facebook messages sent and received. The messages have both made me smile and reminded me what I cherish in life. Or, maybe it’s because more recent friendships remind me that we’re all just people. I don’t mean to be cliche, but, we all need love and connection with people who “get us.”
Here’s my confession: When I forget my humanity, I fail at loving my neighbor. When I forget we’re all made in the image of God, I fail at love.
Like you, I don’t like when I forget. While forgetting my grocery list is different than forgetting we’re all made in the image of God, I don’t like either act of forgetfulness.
Perhaps it is time to remember. Remember the people who fill our lives with meaning. Remember our friends. Remember our friends are human (and so are you). Remember too, they are made in the image of God. Both of these acts of remembering will lead you on a path of love. There are likely other acts of remembering we can embrace, too: remembering to do and be love. Remember how to be a neighbor. And, yes, remember the shopping list.
Remember. Maybe that’s my word for 2016?
Or maybe not. Do I even NEED a word for 2016?
Remembering is not just a mental act. To remember others is to bear witness. In a Biblical sense, to remember others is about bearing witness to the word of God. In remembering I’m reminding myself that I’m a follower of Jesus.
One more thing: friendships are great reminders of what is good and right with the world. You, too, can be a reminder to the friends in your life. Remind them why they are important to you and the world. When you think of your friends or family, call, text, visit, or do the unconventional thing and…drop them a hand written note. While those are simple reminders, I know all too well the busyness and routines of life can create bad habits of forgetfulness. As you remember your friends, you’ll also be the recipient of a great gift: the privilege of giving the love that was first offered to you.
And that’s worth remembering!
For all the negativity about social media, I am grateful for little glimpses into your life, dear friends. I also know there is more going on in your life than is on social media. Thanks for the reminder of friendship, Facebook. I don’t know your word for 2016, but, friendship (or is it remember?) is a good place to start. Thanks, friends, for all the ways you share your love with me.
Thanks Sara for your friendship as well and reminding us that we are all humans, humans who need to give and receive the love of God and love from friends.