In short: It was a lot easier when I was a kid.
The longer version is this: With marriage and kids maintaining old friendships and growing new ones has been a lot harder. In real life most of my old friends (from childhood and even some from college) tend to have different beliefs and values than I do. For the most part we don't talk about the things we differ on, we just enjoy spending time with each other because there's so much comfort in how familiar we are with one another. Some are Christian, some are not; some democrats, some are not; some have 2 kids, some have... well actually I think they all have 2 kids or less. And I am completely sincere when I say that these friends are some of my most cherished. I like that we have differences and knowing and loving them and being loved by them has made me a better person. I am grateful.
I've noticed, though, that all my newer friends are similar to me: Catholics who love God and their faith, who love lots children - whether it's all 6 of their own or all 4 of their godchildren, who believe in traditional values, and who like food and beer. But the strongest selling point is that they're Catholic.
I don't have to be on guard around my Catholic friends. I don't have to explain or defend why Travis and I don't contracept. Instead I can share how hard natural family planning is for us and I am greeted with empathy and understanding. I don't have to explain that when I say "Fulton Sheen, pray for us!" what I really mean is, "Fulton Sheen, intercede for us the same way Pastor Whatshisname intercedes for you at your megachurch when you ask for his prayers."
But forming relationships with those newer friends is hard. In grade school, making a new friend took days, maybe even hours or minutes. Today it has taken months and years.
That's why I so appreciate the "well" that is the internet and social media. Through them I can gather with women from across the country (Texas, Colorado, D.C., Connecticut, Michigan, Indy) and around the world (whatwhat, Adrienne in the UK). Together we can laugh at this
and pray for Jen and Emma and Fulton and Kathleen and Mia and my friend Pam who is being induced today, almost a year after delivering a stillborn.
We can talk about how we celebrate holy days and lose weight and what books and movies and shows we love. It's awesome.
And it's why I'm so excited about this upcoming event, being held in Peoria, IL.
Please join us for an exciting and pertinent talk on
Authentic Friendship in an Age of Social Media
Saturday, February 2nd, 2013
Doors open at 7:10pm
Event begins at 7:30
Saint Philomena Catholic Church
3300 N Twelve Oaks Dr
There is no cost to attend this event,
though a small donation for this special event is very appreciated!
A dinner with our guest speakers will be offered at 6:00pm for $10. Separate RSVP required.
For directions and more information please go to the First Saturday Peoria website.
If you're coming, especially if you're coming in from out of town, please let me know! Also, if you'd like to come to the dinner make sure you RSVP by this Saturday, the 26th. Space is limited for the meal so be sure you get your place (and food!) reserved soon!