The Wheel of Friendship
Hot summer days remind me of joyful times in childhood with the neighborhood kids. Playing tag, running around, climbing trees, riding bicycles.
Especially riding bikes.
Sneakers pedaling as fast as small feet allow, wind blowing through our hair, singing silly songs as we ride down alleys and streets, exploring the space where we live.
I especially reflect on those carefree days when I hear current news of long-ago people from that youthful world.
My brother’s best friend died yesterday. They are years older but I have heard much about their lifetime of friendship—grade school, junior high, high school, and throughout adulthood.
Not only his best friend, but also his business partner.
A herculean loss on several life levels.
When I spoke with my brother he told me about many of their lifelong school friends who texted, called, showed up, prayed. In the midst of tremendous sadness they came together. “We began life together. Now we’re ending it together.”
Such loving yet debilitating sentiment.
Oh, that we all had lifelong friends like this group.
Today I read a social media post from one of my high school friends reporting on a near tragedy. This afternoon she was a passenger in a single engine plane that had complete engine failure at 8,000 feet. They were able to land safely.
No injuries, everyone okay. What a relief.
I share these stories, not to bring you down but to encourage us to positive action.
We currently live in a caustic society of reactive commenting, labeling, and canyon-wide disunity between strangers and friends alike.
As I reflect on the loss and averted tragedy of the last 24 hours, I think about the cherished memories of long-ago friends. I ponder how we individually and together can affect the negative aspects of our corners of the world.
I reflect on the fun we all had riding bikes together. We are each unique and have different life journeys but we share foundational memories and experiences.
The wheel of a bicycle is such a beautiful example of our lives. The spokes look a bit haphazard in the design, but they all connect in two places. They start at a unifying point or hub then spread outward to connect to the rim of the wheel to help move the bike forward.
Can’t we each be the hub of a wheel in our areas of influence?
Whether by common faith in God Almighty or a common desire to simply live by the golden rule? To contribute a small portion of love and respect to our world?
What if we seek to speak only kind words, type positive comments or nothing at all, or stop before we respond to negativity.
What if we capture snarky thoughts and mentally shut the door on them or turn them to something encouraging so our thought patterns change, turning our behaviors around as well.
I refuse to give up hope on our common respect and dignity for one another.
We played together as children, grew up alongside one another. Let’s move into tomorrow committed to be the hopeful, positive, encouraging hub of our life wheel.
We. Can. Do. This.
(Praying for my brother, his friend and family as well as my friend who suffered great mental and emotional trauma today. God bless each of you.)