Friends Before Facebook

If you’re waiting for a travel update, it will come. Eventually. When I’m not swamped with applications or small children reading the days of the week correctly. So…eventually but surely.

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Do remember what friendship still sometimes, but always used to mean? Not just the people in college willing to play Settlers of Catan at 2am on a Thursday because you want to, but the kind of friend who will sit next to you in a bathroom after you’ve just tried to commit suicide. The type of friend that wants to know how you’re doing and won’t settle for your BS cheerful smile when you’re tearing up. Do you remember them? It seems this valuable population is getting smaller these days, while our Facebook friends are bursting at the seams. Tell me, out of those 2,000 people on that little blue and white platform, how many do you actually talk to? In person? How many do you actually trust? Most of all, how many are your actual friends?

Today, society’s buzz word is virality. I’m one to talk, since this blog, upon publishing, will be shared with a dozen other of my social networks. It’s thrilling, but when you think about it, kind of strange. Why do I want someone who has no idea about my life know about my travels and innermost thoughts? Why do I want such internet intimacy? Perhaps we lack real friendship and intimacy in our real lives. We care about how we look in that newest selfie, the cousin-of-a-friend’s Newsfeed, and the top Buzzfeed news of the day, but we forget to care about real, everyday, perfectly imperfect people. I’ll be the first to say I’ve failed many times at making friends, but nothing beats the feeling of making a genuine friend In Real Life, not just clicking a little blue square to “add” someone. It’s not about clicking, it’s about loving. Are you willing to love someone outside of the network and off the grid? Then, maybe you’re ready for a real friend.

It’s almost the Christmas season, and homesickness has hit me full in the face. I miss everything I ever took for granted during Chicago polar vortex winters–the Yuan family awkward Christmas photo of the year (honestly, I always look weird in those), YALG dinners, CBCOP church services, and meet-ups with old friends. I even miss the hectic holiday season of too many finals, too much coffee, not enough sleep, praying at ungodly (but godly) hours and those hard-hitting CFC holiday sermons. I miss it all, and honestly, I want it all back. Why? It was so much pain, heartache and endless mistakes. I failed so many people so many times in so many ways. However…it was in college and in CFC that I learned how to love. Not just the sappy sort of aggressive lust you see in rom-com movies, not really, no. I’m talking about the kind of painful, sacrificial love the father character has in Most. I’m talking about hard love, that kind of love that makes us want to lay down our lives for somebody else. It makes absolutely no sense and all the sense in the world.

I’ve shared before about my past with bullies and Regina Georges. If I was as self-righteous as I used to be, I would hate everyone and have no friends. It was true for me once. However, I think C.S. Lewis describes it best when it comes to Eustace Scrubb and his transformation into (and out of) a monster.

“Sleeping on a dragon’s hoard with greedy, dragonish thoughts in his heart, he had become a dragon himself.”
C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader”

Hate and anguish, whether directed inwards or outwards, can only destroy. It shouts and tears and rends apart, but it does not heal. Healing is something humans are not capable until we think higher. We always seem to have time to complain or curse at people (at least, I know I have), but when was the last time we actually, earnestly cared for someone? Made the time to pray for them or meet with them? When was the last time you were actually a friend? When was the last time you behaved like one?

Last week, I made a lot of apologies. I offended many people. But, something I know I did right was to be honest and speak in truth. Now, I just really need to learn how to speak the truth in love. I hope, starting today, you remember what it means to be a friend.

14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. –Ephesians 4:14-16 ESV

Cheers & Merry Christmas,



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