Staying in touch

I learned (or remembered, rather) a great lesson this past week. The people in your life, be it friends or family, are the most important thing in a person’s life. It is so important that we keep in touch with them, and late is always better than never.

I spent this past week at a family reunion with my dad’s side of the family. I hadn’t seen these people since I was 2 years old, nor had my dad talked to any of his cousins in the last 16 years. How come? I don’t know. Things change, you move away, people are busy. But that is no excuse for a lack of communication.

My great uncle Bill who I had the pleasure to get to know this past week taught us an important lesson. With over 80 years of life under his belt and tons of travels, he is a wise man. As all 23 of us sat down at dinner that first night, he expressed his happiness that we were together again and then he stressed the importance of keeping in touch.

He teared up as he told us about his long-time friend who had just entered a nursing home–a friend who he saw almost die in battle and a friend who he exchanged letters with for years. And now that was gone.

Bill told us how important it is to go the extra effort. Call them, write them, don’t Facebook them. The younger kids and I started to argue that Facebook is our generation’s way of keeping in touch, that we are even better at keeping in touch because of it.

As I’ve thought more and more about it these past few days, I have realized that our generation is wrong and Bill is absolutely right. Sure, we can wish all our best friends, friends, kind of friends, acquaintances, even enemies, a Happy Birthday thanks to Facebook, but does it really mean anything?

My 20th birthday was this past Thursday — I received over 100 Facebook wall posts, about 10 texts, and only 4 phone calls. Normally I’m excited about the wall posts (yay, I’m popular!), and even more pleased when someone unexpected texts me (WOW, they texted me a Happy Birthday! They really love me!). But then one of my friends actually called me (the other 3 were relatives). I was so shocked that I almost thought it was weird. And then I remembered Bill’s speech and felt so grateful towards my friend. That phone call meant more than all my Facebook wall posts combined.

So the next time you are going to text a Happy Birthday wish or Facebook your friend for an update, pick up the phone instead. Or surprise your grandma with a handwritten note. These true, meaningful acts of communication mean the world to the receiver. And the feeling you get in return is even better. <3


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