Break

Keep calm and wait … what?

If you hadn’t noticed, things have been quiet around here lately. I didn’t plan to take a break from blogging, but it happened anyway.

And that’s okay.

We need breaks from time to time. We need to relax, to take some deep breaths, and to recharge. We need to try new things, and experience new experiences.

Above all, we need to live.

It’s so easy to get lock into writing. To focus on word counts and deadlines. It’a even easier to get caught up in the business of writing. To spend more time on social media trying to be heard above the din of voices.

We spend so much time on output, we forget about input. Reading a book, taking a walk, singing, or  playing a musical instrument. Talking to our friends, engaging with our partners, or playing with our kids. And then we wonder why the output stops.

No input, no output.

No living, no life.

That’s why we have to take breaks, and that’s why the blog has slowed down and why it will pick up again once I am filled.

Five Minute Friday

And this week, a two-for one (to catch up with both online communities):

Cheerleaders of Faith

Calling Each Other “Friends”

A giant FB friend collage.

A Facebook “friends” collage.

Today’s Five Minute Friday prompt is “friend.” Another repeat prompt—not the first—but coincidentally it’s back exactly one year later. Here’s what I wrote about “friend” last year.

Facebook has ruined the word “Friend.”

First of all, it is not a verb. You do not friend people, you meet them—preferably in person—and over time, if you find enough in common between you to make connections, a friendship will grow organically.

Second, “defriend” and “unfriend” are not words. I do not defriend someone to make him my unfriend, or unfriend someone to make her my defriend. If a friendship ends, it is usually through inaction. Except for a couple of Seinfeld episodes, no one ever “breaks up” with a friend.  Friendships don’t get killed, they die through neglect.

But worst of all, Facebook abuses of the meaning of the word “friend.” In real life, we have layers of friendship. Best friends, good friends, friends-of-friends, acquaintances, colleagues, people-we-know-but-don’t-think-too-much-about, people-we-nod-to-politely-as-we-pass-them, etc.

But in Facebook, everyone is a potential friend. All it takes is a friend request …

It was a real-life friend that got me on Facebook in the first place. And early on, the people I connected with—often after many years out-of-touch—were real-life friends too. But then I started connecting with people I only knew online. That’s when it got a little weird, and a few of these virtual “friendships” had to end.

But there’s a good part too, and maybe it’s proof that a tool is only as good as what you do with it.

I’ve since met some of the people I once knew only through social media. I’ve gotten a chance to talk to them face to face, if only for a short time. And it’s been wonderful. No, they’re not really “friends” in the same way people I’ve known for years are, but they are colleagues and, in many cases, fellow disciples of Jesus too.

Jesus said “I call you friends.” Maybe we can call each other friends, and—unlike Facebook—have it mean something.

Five Minute Friday

Thank You For Visiting

Anna makes a welcome sign

Photo: Julia Ozab

Welcome to my small part of the Internet.

If it is your first time here, please introduce yourself in the comments

If this is a repeat visit, or if you stop by frequently, say “hi” anyway.

I want to thank you for visiting. This is but one of countless millions of active blogs on the internet. It’s hard to get anyone’s attention in such a big crowd.

A community like Five Minute Friday helps. Thanks Lisa-Jo for creating this opportunity for us to visit one another in this limited way, and thanks to the community for welcoming me even though I don’t fit the predominant demographic.

Virtual visits are no match for face to face contact, and I’m glad for the opportunity to meet at least a few of you from the Pacific Northwest and beyond at the Faith and Culture Writers Conferences (I attended last year and am returning in March). But to the rest of you, I wouldn’t know your writing or your experiences without this community and the technology that supports it.

And for that I am grateful.

May God bless all of you—both FMF contributors visiting today and other followers of my blog—and may we continue to encourage and uplift one another with our words.

Five Minute Friday

The Best of Five Minute Friday

Timer set to five minutes

Image via Google Search

Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday Community is taking the month off, but here on the last Friday of 2013 are my five most popular Five Minute Friday posts of the year.

5. Last! (August 23)

4. Vessels of Grace (November 1)

3. Anything but Ordinary (October 11)

2. Imagine a Blue Poodle (May 20)

1. Friends and “Friends” (April 26)

Five Minute Friday

Flying

Infant Anna on a airplane.

Anna’s first flight (Photo: Julia Ozab)

I traveled more miles at eighteen months of age than most people in history traveled in their lifetimes.

My daughter traveled even more miles than that before she turned one.

It’s something we take for granted since people learned how to fly.

The world has shrunk, we’re told. Two hundred years ago, people could travel as fast as a horse could take them. Now we travel at close to the speed of sound—some of us have traveled even faster than that.

And our words travel at close to the speed of light.

We can fly, and our thoughts can fly even faster than we can.

Yet I only know about three or four of the people that live in my apartment complex.

Community is no longer bound by location. We can be friends with people thousands of miles away, and cross paths daily with total strangers.

I’m not sure if that’s better or worse. I know we were created for community. I’m not sure we were created for flight.

Five Minute Friday