We ran into each other at a work-related function. I hadn’t seen her in over a year. We would occasionally e-mail, but not often. If she was on Facebook, she would definitely be one of my 300+ “friends.”
We sat together that night. Over the course of dinner, we had a chance to catch up. I had forgotten how much we had in common, outside of work. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed her company. Connecting with her that night reminded me how important it is to have a community of women friends.
I felt guilty that I hadn’t reached out to her from time to time for a nice lunch date. Being an introvert, it’s sometimes easier for me to spend time with my online buddies. You know, shoot them a message when I feel like “talking,” answering them a day or two later if I’m in full blown introvert mode.
Guilt washed over me. I had neglected “live” friends while pouring into my virtual friendships. But how can my online friends help when I need someone? Can virtual friendships be enough? How can they be “real” friends via the computer and keyboard? What kind of friend is it that never sits with you over coffee or a meal?
That’s the kind of relationships that are being built in today’s technical age. These virtual buddies fulfill all the Biblical requirements of friendship, even though two people aren’t in the same room and have never met. I would say it’s one kind of friendship that Jesus would want us to have…
In one of my small online groups, I was able to watch the body of Christ in action, and the hands and feet of Jesus moving. Thirteen women, many of whom had never met face to face, formed a private Facebook group to provide encouragement and feedback for our writing and blogging. Let me tell you how this community does so much more than talk about writing.
It unfolded like this:
Friend #1: Hi, sweet friends. I would appreciate your prayers. My daughter’s wedding is in two months. Oh my, I think I have more to do than I have time to do it. Things kind of hit the fan this evening. Everything is kind of crashing in…things not going right. The decisions on DIY decorations aren’t working like we hoped, and at this point, we don’t have a lot of time to come up with something that will look nice and not cost much…and that she will like.
Friend #2: I’ll be praying for God’s peace for you, your daughter and your family!
Friend #3: Oh, I so wish we lived closer! DIY is my love language. Tell me, what does she need? Want? Do you have pictures you can share? Maybe my creative side can help. I am stalking your Pinterest boards! I see things pinned that I’ve done before, and have things on hand to make. I could easily ship to you. So you tell me: What is that daughter of yours missing?
These women – my online friends – live many states apart, in separate time zones. They’ve never had coffee together or shared a meal. They’ve never met. And yet, I watched them come together to serve one another with gladness.
These virtual friends have prayed for one another, grieved with each other, and rejoiced together. About the only thing we haven’t done together (those of us that haven’t met), is share a meal. Oh, but wait, that day is coming!
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” Revelation 19:9
I can see us now, at the marriage supper of the Lamb, living out the words of that old hymn:
When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!
Until next week,
Joining these lovely writers. Be sure to visit their pages, you’ll be encouraged!
Suzie Eller, Live Free Thursday
Susan at Dance with Jesus
Barbie at The Weekend Brew
Kelly at Purposeful Faith
Holly at Testimony Tuesday
Holley at Coffee for Your Heart
Jennifer at Tell His Story
Meredith at Woman 2 Woman Wednesday