Thursday, 23 December 2010

Some times a whole series of 'happenings' just add up until there is a moment of revelation - or disaster as in the straw that broke the camel's back!

Three things have happened to me in recent days, or maybe its four that have prompted a train of thought.
First of all a card from a friend arrived, as they do at Christmas. She mentioned that as she wrote each card she stopped and reminisced about that person/family and said a prayer for them. Then the very next day a columnist in the local daily paper said something similar, without the praying bit. (I count those as one since they are so similar!)

Then I had an email from a friend who is on the other side of the world this Christmas, far away from family, friends and all the busy-ness that surrounds a European Christmas. She felt remote.

Finally, I was watching a recorded TV programme - QI, one of my favourites. The theme was happiness and they were talking about the optimal number of friends people have. Apparently its 150, which could set me off on a whole different track about social net-working, but I'll resist - this time! Villages recorded in the Magna Carta had populations of around 150 and various other facts were given as examples. The bit that connected with me was its the average number of cards people send at Christmas.

Full circle back to my friend and the journalist.

All this made me ponder why and how I communicate with others. But more than that... frequency often also comes into play... And then - potentially more 'damaging' how reliable am I? Is it OK to say - but I think about you all the time? Or even - but you're always in my prayers? The awful sinking feeling when you've been 'caught out' for being a slack correspondent, a neglectful friend.

I realised last night that I also do the reverse of my friend and the journalist too. As I open each card and read the messages and signatures I think about what has happened to those people, that family. I notice names missing with an aching sadness and names added with joyful delight.

Being a friend can be hard work!

Talking of which, my friend did fly out of snow-bound Heathrow and was united with her family! Wonderful! The niggling thought remains though, if she hadn't have listened to that inner voice telling her to delay her departure to be with her friends she would not have been so lucky...

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