Thursday, July 22, 2010

Friends - part II

I've mentioned previously that I belong to a web forum for motorcycle riders and I want to share with you what a fantastic group of guys they are. Patrick, one of the members, has been working on an older bike and had been making progress with the repairs and took his bike for a ride. While riding, he noticed fire "dripping" from the bike. He got stopped, tried to put the fire out but sadly, a beautiful piece of machinery was destroyed. Thankfully, Patrick wasn't seriously injured other than some burns to his hands.

His reaction was typical following a loss such as this, Patrick was ready to throw in the towel as he knew he couldn't replace the bike. He was even considering dropping from the forum. The first replies were typical condolences but the thing that drew my attention was that almost immediately, post number seven to be exact, someone suggested that the members of the forum step up and send what they can, any amount, to help Patrick out. I don't know what the total is currently, but as of yesterday $1300 has been donated towards his replacement. Patrick is already shopping around for a new (to him) bike.

What a great group of guys. From a small beginning of a handful of riders in Ireland to a group of riders that are found all over the world, the brotherhood and friendship of this forum never fail to humble me.

And while I am not in a position to help Patrick out this time, something else will come up and maybe I will be in a better position to offer more than encouragement.

Additionally, I would encourage you to do something. Help out when you can, sometimes at a sacrifice. You will be blessed, the people you help will be bless more so. Donate blood. Donate your time. Sometimes, just giving someone a shoulder to cry on or an ear to vent in is enough. (Thank you Kathy.)

And, just in case you want to read a great tribute to some fine people, here is a link to the thread on that forum: Bike Fire

Ride safe.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

New old friends

I got a text message from an old friend the other night. She and I were co-workers for a while, and became friends and stayed friends after we no longer worked together. She's had a couple of hard times, both personal and professional, and we've talked through many of them. She's a true friend and I love her dearly.

She and I have managed to keep in touch via the occasional phone call, email and text messaging, however due to a couple of incidents outside of her control, she was forced to change her cell phone number. Things happen.

A couple of nights ago, I got a text message from a number I didn't recognize and my first thought was that it had been a while since we've spoken. "How are you doing?" she asked. "Good, but I miss you" was my reply. "I miss you too!" came back. We went back and forth for a bit and then she said something that just didn't sound right.

"Why did she ask THAT?" I wondered. Then it hit me and suddenly I wondered if I was really speaking with her. It was late enough and I was amused enough that I just wanted to make sure I wasn't embarrassing someone. Wrong number calls go through, so do text messages.

"I don't think I'm who you meant to text." I sent. "Sure you are" the response flew back. "I hope so" I sent back. Her reply was "You're still *** and I'm still not ***." (Yeah, just a modicum of privacy here.)

Okay, she knows that about me, maybe it is her. Then I asked her if she was sure and her reply was "Yeah, it's Lori."

Not the name I was thinking of.

Doesn't even have enough letters.

Then, I thought back to our conversation which, while not intimate or anything, was personal, and I was brought up pretty short for a minute. Parallel universe? Wrinkle in time? Diverging planes of reality? Four people, two of which are conversing, who apparently share several circumstances. Then, through the magic of technology and serendipity, two of us managed to connect in a conversation.

The next thought I had was how amazed I was that two people who didn't know each other could be friends, as it were, without the foundation of shared knowledge or experiences. In truth, without any real knowledge of each other.

Am I blessed with friends? Yeah, I'd like to think so. True friends? The kind of friend that you can call in the middle of the night if you need help? Maybe not as many now. Through social networking sites such as FaceBook and the like, I've been lucky enough to reunite with some pretty great people from my past - people who I'll call friends. Would Kathy or Darrin come to me when I called at 3:00 AM? I doubt it. Are we still friends? Yes.

The difference is that they don't have the emotional investment and there has been a lot of time and distance since we were last a part of each other's lives. We have too many other personal demands on our lives and hearts and minds to commit to the casual relationships such as ours.

My findings? First, don't be too hesitant to make a friend. Sure, you want to be cautious and careful of the investment into the friendship, and there are a multitude of levels of friendship. Don't put yourself, or what you hold dear at risk by "creating" a friendship too quickly; there is obviously a growth rate to trust someone. Once you learn that and they earn that, you can build upon the trust and develop that friendship.

The next line from my is that friendships have value. All friendships have value. Some are measured in cents and some in dollars.

Last, and probably what I wanted to say most, be quick to be a friend to someone. Look at what you can invest, look at what you can give to someone, and give what you can. I know I can use all the friends I have and then some.