Overwhelmed with Gratitude.

Birthday candlesBirthdays aren’t usually a philosophical moment for me to reflect upon. It’s a day when I know I’ll get presents. And cards. And cake. And a few people yelling out “Happy Birthday!”

But something happened today on Facebook, of all places. It started with a simple note from an old classmate from elementary school. Then, throughout the day, it steadily increased – some well wishes from college friends, family members, coworkers, neighbors, musicians, people from around the world whom I’ve met through my blog – it was truly a humbling experience.

We all possess some innate need to connect with people – to find some common experience, belief or interest, and to share it and appreciate it. For the old classmates from elementary school, friendships grew simply from trust because well, that’s all we knew. In high school, trust was uncommon; you began to rely on those experiences and interests to bond and get you through the horrors that high school brought with it (at least for me). College brought new responsibilities, new fears, but new independence. Trust grew deeper as we matured, and we swore we would always keep in touch because of those deep bonds.

Then we grew up. We got jobs, moved away from each other, had kids, and our new friends were acquaintances with whom we had dinner once a month. Yes, we missed the close friendships, but the acquaintances and co-workers were always a brief respite from the wacky, hectic days spent at work. We tended to value the few hours of adult conversation, even if it was over a pizza.

I tended to forget about the close friendships after a while and took the acquaintances for granted – until a whole bunch of them took 15 seconds out of their day to say hello on Facebook. I’ve spent all day replying and saying thanks, making mental notes to find out what’s going on with them, messaging a few and promising to catch up on things. I hope I do.

No, this post isn’t about music. This is about simple gratitude, knowing that throughout your life you’ve made connections, and those connections still mean something.

Here’s Brandon Schott, one of my new musician friends, with a remake of Andrew Gold’s “Thank You For Being a Friend.” It’s from a compilation from another new Facebook friend, Andrew Curry’s Drink a Toast to Innocence: A Tribute to Lite Rock (which you can still buy). Listen to the song (but don’t think of “The Golden Girls”) and call up that best friend from ninth grade. My guess is you won’t miss a beat on your connection.

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