Sunday, March 27, 2016

#16.004 When Your Friends Are Books You'll Never Read Again

When Friends are Books You'll Never Read Again

I was just eating a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich and thinking about a friend from work. 

I like this guy. He makes me laugh. He's just interesting and unique. He kind of reminds me of my oldest brother in a way, but then again, a little bit like my younger brother. But in his own way that's....different. 

And, between bites of wheat bread and raspberry jam, I imagined my life as a book, and that this co-worker is a character I encounter on my journey.

If I were to move out of town, I thought, it's very possible that I would never see this person again. Like many others, we would stay connected on Facebook, but there wouldn't be any other force that would keep us together. No reason for me to hear his stories in person, and laugh at his quirks. 

And I thought of the stories I've read before and loved, and how sometimes there are these characters we fall in love with, who mean something to us, even though they appear for but an instant. 

And maybe that's OK.

I still feel a strong need to stay connected to everyone I've ever encountered. That if we had a strong connection for a moment, then I want to keep that.

Social media, like Facebook and LinkedIn, make it easier to simulate these connections. We can keep tabs on old friends, and interact with their posts. 

But it's not the same, is it?

Perhaps people come and go in our lives, like characters in a book. Some are major characters who are there throughout. And most others, whether we like it or not, have their moment and then maybe that's it. 

We have the memories though. Moments we can replay in our minds. Remember. Feel a little bit of what it felt like to be around them, back then. 

Like books we can pick up again, we read them again, play with the characters. It's not the same as the first time we read the story. We can't totally recreate the magic of the first time we read. And yet it's still nice to try. There's still some magic there. Maybe the re-reading of the story isn't about reading it again, as much as it is reminding us of the experience we had during our first reading. 

And so it is with my friend at work. I get to enjoy the fact that I've gotten to encounter him at all, and that he has gotten to be a character in my book. And though I hope to encounter him more, both now and years down the road, life has a way of taking us to different places, in a beautiful way, and sometimes even cutting lives short, in an unfair and tragic way. One doesn't know what the next chapter holds. 

So maybe, I thought, I don't have to make this friend a main character. Maybe he's a short blip, but what a fun blip it is. I get to enjoy the encounter as long as it's here. 

And when that is over, I can welcome the next character, for as long as that blip lasts.