Monday, 3 January 2011

Friends and Family

From time to time there is an online discussion about who should you accept as a friend on facebook and my answer is one I saw given once, that it is someone I would welcome into my home.

There are of course my friends that have nothing to do with my work; my family, neighbours from the past and friends from my church, but this post is about those I meet through my travels and role in the Oracle community.

My friendship definition doesn't mean I always know the people that well, it means that they interest me and I would like to explore that further and would welcome them into my life. I haven't always been like that, my daughter taught me a very valuable lesson a few years ago when she showed me how shallow I was. She came with me to a conference in Finland and not being in IT the conversations she had with everyone were about them. As the week progressed I realised she knew far more about my 'friends' than I did. I only knew their professional side. now I hope I look beyond that and get to know the real person. I wrote about how humbling that is and some of the truly inspirational people I count as friends today.

One of my best friends today is Lisa, a girl I work closely with and I knew NOTHING about her. Another friend described her and I made the effort to really talk to her. How close I came to missing out on this very special friendship.

I am also a worrier and one thing I worry about is do my friends think the same about me? Earlier in my life I remember having so called friends who when I met their wives (I have always worked in a male dominated world) they played the friendship down. A few times that really hurt, did it mean they were shallow, or were their own relationship with their wives that fragile they were threatened by having female friends? So as  a worrier that has always been my yardstick for a friendship.

When my marriage failed, I turned to my friends and have had so much support, but not being married made me worry about being a problem. Perhaps again I was being too simplistic, I haven't changed, I have always been a 'touchy feely' person, but I still think a marriage or any committed relationship is sacrosanct and would never overstep that mark. Luckily I have learnt that my friends aren't shallow and that their friendships are true.

My work that allows me to travel, means I do meet a lot of their families who sometimes travel as well, and I am so blessed by this, and I don't expect they know just how much that means to me. Then there is facebook, I often say why I like facebook so much and yet another thing it gives me is the ability to meet their families in a virtual setting, and that takes away much of that 'hidden friendships' I worry about.

I found this photo a few weeks ago, it was taken more than two years ago. In both cases, I first met their wives via facebook and have since been a guest in both their homes. In the second case just a few months ago in person, although we once had a facebook conversation about ovens. Never underestimate how much this means to me. I have other friends whose families I know only through facebook and hope I will get the opportunity to meet.

At this start of a new year I, like most people look back, and I would say 2010 has been a very special year. Yes I had two big setbacks, I was divorced and later lost my mother suddenly, but I also felt the love and support of my friends. In fact I went to visit a very special friend just a few days after my mum died and was given the strength to go on. When I returned home there were many cards at my house and as I put them on the mantelpiece there were 3 special photos there; my daughter who is my world, a picture with me with traditional but no less important friends from Guernsey,  and a similar one to this of me with 3 of these special friends I have met through work. I have met all their partners over the years.I took great comfort from these pictures.

So don't read this and think 'she needs help', I don't I have all the help and support I need from my friends. Real friends and I thank them for letting me into their lives at whatever level and pray that in some small way I can repay them.


Dan Norris said...

My whole family has enjoyed your past visit and looks forward to the next ones. I've learned from you that one can extend their immediate biological family to include many other special friends, even if you don't get to see them in person very often and/or live far away. It's a lesson I didn't learn until this late stage and my kids will benefit from this greatly I'm sure.

Sheeri K. Cabral said...

*hugs* You are welcome in my Boston-area home any time you find yourself here. I am glad that in 2010 I met you and I hope to grow our friendship more.

You are a special person. I read this and thought "I [still] want to be her friend."

Lisa said...

I too am grateful to that mutual friend that got us talking.
I value our friendship very much and appreciate everything that comes out of it.
Within one person I have a 'silly friend' for when I need a lift, I have someone to look up to and learn from and I have someone who has introduced me to others who have become friends.
Here's to many more years of the madness! :)

Debra Lilley said...

wow, see what I mean, I am blessed

Nadia said...

Like you Debra, I have lots of value for friendship and I am so glad and honored to be part of your friends community. I love and cannot agree more about your thoughts in this post. Made me think, many thanks.

Elke Phelps said...

Debra - thanks for the thoughtful post and for the reminder to stop and smell the flowers. Looking forward to seeing you again - until then we will stay virtually connected. ~ep

Daniel Strassberg said...

Debra, good people get good things and you are one of the good guys. Life is full of wonderful surprises and adventures and it has been great taking adventures with you. I would have never visited the beach in "Home and Away" if it was not for you. And dear Brooke would not have travelled the world without our encouragement and your air miles. Debra keep being you cause that’s who we all love and cherish.