May 19th is the birthday of my best early-childhood friend. We haven’t been in touch in over a decade and every year I wonder how she is doing. So this year I stopped waiting until tomorrow, next month, or next year to take action.
I guess that I’ve been a friendship procrastinator. And yes, friendship goes two ways, but we lost touch a decade ago during life’s busiest times. She was recently married and getting settled into her new life and I was traveling the country as a fundraiser. We were both all over the place.
During our childhood we lost touch because we went do different schools, my family switched churches and our social circles shifted.
You know how it goes: friends can be for a reason, season, or a lifetime. Well, Beth is a friend for a lifetime, but we let our seasons get in the way. If I’m thinking of this person so much, why aren’t we connected?
So at 11:15 PM on May 18 this week, I decided to take action and find her in time to wish her a Happy Birthday.
Last year, I tried Facebook at this time and there was no luck. My inner curiosity (aka: friendship stalker?) went to Google. I tried to find her and I learned that her Mom was still where she retired. It ultimately led me to Beth.
This time when I put her name in Facebook, there she was. Yay! I Googled her and found her beautiful grown-up face (so much like she was as a child – pretty, sincere, and I can see her funny side too). Then I went to Facebook and she had finally set up an account. (Yes, Beth, I’ve been trying to find you, my friend, off and on through Facebook!).
So why does this topic matter?
It matters a lot. During our childhood we are truly who we are without tarnishing, filters, and hold-back moments. We are authentic in our innocence and on-brand. Yep. As children, we are naturally passionate, daring, courageous, innovative, imaginative, caring, not afraid to take risks – we are seriously unstoppable. And THAT my friends is what we need to strive for in our filtered grown-up lives.
For better or worse, during our childhood we had people in our lives who knew us at the core. Despite whatever life’s journey has handed us, these are the people who bring us to our center and remind us who we are when we’re on-fire – the good kind of on-fire.
An added bonus for me, Beth has been secretly been a beacon of light during my parenting. I think back on the many play times (they were not called play dates back then), spend-the-nights (not called sleepovers then either) and times at Sunday School. What did Beth and I do? How did we have fun? When I’m making decisions for my boys about being in nature, experimenting, using their imagination and more, who do I think of? Beth. And as a Mom of boys I get more at ease thinking about our incredible adventures in friendship.
We had no fear. We created our own language called Kabotocon (huh?). We went playing in dirty creeks never once thinking about snakes, poison ivy, or getting hurt. We were invincible and even found ways to ward of our older siblings (and parents sometimes too?) and make our time together fun. Isn’t that what we need to do in our adult life too?
We need to be invincible.
(We also need more fun. We need more PLAY.)
So this week, I have a challenge for you.
Find ONE person from your childhood – friend, coach, teacher, spiritual advisor, relative, neighbor, etc. – and contact them. No excuses. Stop waiting.
And, if you’re trying to contact someone that you’ve been estranged from for more serious and emotional reasons, get good with yourself first. Pray about it. Forgive yourself. Forgive the other person.
For all you know, you may have only today. What are you waiting for?
**And up next week: Summer Camp begins.
You’ll get your packing list for a summer of fun-filled grown-up virtual summer camp activities (and a little learning) too.
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