Social media has changed forever the meaning of the word friend, but when I think of friends I don’t picture the list in my Facebook profile. I picture the faces of people I’ve met, people with whom I’ve shared time and common purpose. These are the faces of people I know actual give a damn about me and the world we live in.
This is not to say my friends care more than others’; your friends care for you in the same way.
Physical proximity is a fundamental part of friendship and for that matter human relationships in general. When I sit across the table from someone, pass them in the street, redirect mis-delivered mail or feed their cat when they are on vacation, I’m more likely to listen to, care for, protect or share with them, simply because they are … near to me.
And that is the whole point.
The more I connect with people who are close by, the easier I find it is to understand the gap that separates me from those who are far away – the gap created by war, poverty, hunger, injustice … lack friendship.
I recently shot and produced a promotional video for the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council. It is part their Friends of Crime Prevention campaign, created to help recognize and mobilize those who are making the place where we live safer and more secure by building community – parents, teachers, researchers, community activists and police officers. I met six new “friends” with whom I’ve shared time, purpose and values through this project.
Shortly after finishing the video I spent an evening with another group of friends and artists from the MT Space, where I sit on the board of directors. We spent the evening preparing food for our annual donor appreciation dinner. I sliced onions, chopped parsley, drank wine and sang shoulder-to-shoulder with people who share a belief that theatre and art are essential to a vibrant community life.
Both this videos are under 2 minutes. If you take the time to watch them I’m sure you’ll see the connection between the people who stand next to you and the well being of your community and your world.
It is these friends that make up the fabric of our lives and this place we call home.