OPINION COLUMNS

Facebook and becoming a real friend this new year

By Gerre Joiner | Published Saturday, January 3, 2015
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I admit that I probably spend more time with Facebook than I should. It is the modern-day beauty shop for ladies. It’s the virtual coffee shop for us guys.

Gerre Joiner

Gerre Joiner

Here’s a composite report of what I read just today on Facebook:

  • A friend reported that she went to the nursing home to get her mother so her family could celebrate the season with her. Almost everyone noted Mama’s smile wasn’t right. They investigated. Mama had her roommate’s bottom dentures in her mouth.
  • One of my friends (a dark-humored but good-hearted man) wrote that he had recently passed by a one-legged man seated on the sidewalk with a donations can placed in front of him. My friend placed some money in the can and said, “Here’s some money to help you get back on your foot.”
  • I read of deep loyalties and play-by-play posts associated with sporting events. Lots of reports came in as Baylor’s Cotton Bowl game played out.

By the way, did you know that the word “bowl” began in the early 1900s when football “tournaments” and the bowl-shaped stadium configuration were becoming popular? First of the “bowl” games was the Rose Bowl, the “granddaddy of them all.”

  • I read of the benefits of many products (most notably essential oils) that are bound to make one’s life better.
  • There are health tip recommendations regarding what should be eaten and what should not be eaten. Recipes abound. Some spiritual advancement is associated with eating black-eyed peas on the first day of the new year. Some say that eating cabbage helps, too.
  • Health reports include information about those who are getting sick, those who are terribly sick and those who are just now getting over the same symptoms described in the original post. Toward the end of the posts, one will find a “thank you” note from the one who originally complained about the scratchy throat.

On a more serious note, some of my friends report the melancholy sentiments that accompany the first Christmas/New Year’s season after the death of a loved one. These are hard days for them. Their transparency (“I am hurting.”) and the love of good friends (“I will be praying for you, friend.”) almost singularly make Facebook networking worthwhile in my estimation.

While many of my friends report (either by social media or personal conversations) the blessings associated with wonderful grown children, remarkably gifted grandchildren and bountiful resources, there are those among us who are not as fortunate.

Someone’s grown child is far away, and there are some serving in the armed services in dangerous places. Someone’s grown child is estranged.

In the lives of some of our friends, there is a hurt where a close grandparent/grandchild relationship ought to be.

Some of our friends aren’t blessed with as many resources for living as we.

My point is this: Entering this new year, let’s be sensitive to those around us. If you talk to nearly anyone for a while, you’ll find out that most are good at “small talk” and few will tell you of their hurts. Talk a little longer, and you’ll discover their hurts and their needs.

Show some interest in their hurts and their needs. Really care about them. You’ve moved from being an acquaintance to being a friend. A real friend.

On a lighter note:

We boys are kind of set in our ways regarding vehicles. One of our guys told the story about accidentally running over a rooster out on the highway.

He turned the vehicle around, drove back to the farmhouse and found the owner seated on the porch. He said, “Sorry, but I ran over your rooster. I’d like to pay you for it.”

The owner asked, “What kind of car is that?”

Our guy said, “It’s a Dodge.”

The man on the porch said, “You don’t owe me anything. If that rooster couldn’t outrun a Dodge, he couldn’t catch a hen.”

Gerre Joiner is a semi-retired church musician and has lived in Decatur since 1999.

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