Nov 9, 2010

National UnFriend Day

There isn't a category picture for this post because, really, it falls into most of them.  On November 3, Jimmy Kimmel proposed a new holiday.  November 17 is being known as National UnFriend Day.  On this day, he is urging people to unfriend some of the glut of friends they have accumulated on Facebook.  He makes some good points.  Friendship is a special thing that should be treasured.  Instead, Facebook has minimized the importance of that word by calling anyone who you know "a friend."  To help us identify "true friends," Kimmel came up with some questions.  Would you loan this person fifty dollars?  If you posted you were moving, would that person help?  If the answer is no, unfriend them.

I can understand the thought behind Kimmel's semi-serious rant.  I love Facebook.  It has allowed me to reconnect with people who I had lost track of over the years.  But there are tons of people that I don't really  know that well.  Right now, I have 650 friends on Facebook.  How many of those are "true friends?"  I have no idea.  I have people on that list from just about every major phase of my life.  There are people from my high school years - both my school and my church.  Then there are people from college - old Student Government friends, classmates, BCM pals.  I have people from the church at BCM I worked at in Tampa, people from our year in Orange Park, friends from our time up in here in Tallahassee.  And there are tons of people from Orlando - Apple coworkers, students from ICS, friends from church.  I also have a good number of ministers and students that I met at Defender Ministries appearances.  So, would I consider them all good friends?  Not at all.  In fact, some of them I don't know very well at all.

So, according to Kimmel and others who think his idea is super, I should jettison most of those people.  In a kind of funny twist, I had a completely different plan.  I had no idea about Kimmel's idea until yesterday. Instead, while I was driving down to Tampa this past weekend, I had a lot of time to think.  And I found myself drifting back into the dark vortex that a combination on loneliness, fear, and lack of adult interaction leads to.  At that precise moment, I honestly felt that I had nothing to offer anyone.  I was worn out and beat down.  It is a pretty ugly feeling, honestly. I was trying to think about how I have fought that in the past.

The greatest weapon to that feeling of emptiness and hopelessness, to me at least, is to try to minister to other people.  It is one of the great mysteries of life.  But, even when we are completely empty in our own tank, we can find fulfillment and refreshment by giving to others.  In those times when I allowed myself to be an encourager, an edifier, a positive influence I would always find myself better off as well.  This is part of God's plan for mankind.  We are not build to be loners.  We need each other to encourage and strengthen us.  In addition, we are built to need to provide that for others.  It seems a little strange - we need to give ourselves away to be truly full.  But, the big problem for me right now is that I don't have a whole lot of people to bless that way in person.  I am with the kids all day.  I don't know a lot of people up here in Tallahassee.  I could make food for Heather's study group at FSU.  I could call or email a few people I know here - maybe 10 or 15.  But it isn't what I was thinking.

As we were driving, I came up with a way to minister to others and told Heather my idea.  (And keep in mind that I had no idea what Kimmel had proposed at this point.)  I thought about the fact that I had these 650 Facebook friends.  I decided that I was going to begin reconnecting with every single one of them.  These people have all been brought into my life for a reason.  It may have been nearly twenty years ago in Mr. Trotsky's English class.  Or it may have been at a workshop four years ago in Ridgecrest, NC.  But that person still connected with me enough to create a Facebook link in the first place.  So, what better way to start this process?

Think about how much you love getting an encouraging note from someone?  I could give that to people.  I have the time to get on Facebook.  And writing is something that comes naturally to me.  So I could probably put together a few of these letters every day.  I don't mean write some lame cut and paste memo either.  I mean to write a personal letter - thanking the person, reminiscing about how that person is important to you, offering to pray for the person.  I thought it was a pretty good idea.  Of course, after the weekend I kind of suspected the idea would just float away like many others.

That was until I saw Kimmel's proposal.  I watched the clips from his show and read his twitter feed.  And I knew for sure that I needed to follow through.  Instead of removing people, I am going to try to minister to them.  I'm sure some people won't appreciate it or care.  They can unfriend me and we'll move on.  But I would wager that it will instead be something positive for a lot of people.  I'm not sure how quickly I'll finish this.  But I am going to get started as soon as I can.  So if you get a note from me at some point on Facebook, you'll know why.  And I hope it will make your day better.

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