Then, not thinking much about it, I logged off of facebook and went to bed. Well, the next morning when I logged back on, I already had quite a few likes. By the time all was said and done, I had 84 of my facebook friends "like" my status. And the people who liked it ran the gamut from friends I see all the time to friends I haven't seen in a long time. They were camp friends, seminary friends, college friends, high school friends, pastor friends, church friends. I definitely had my work cut out for me!
There were times it didn't seem like the list was getting any shorter. I'd write to a couple of people, and then I'd look and see that three more had liked my status in the meantime. Eventually, around 11:00 last night, I finished up my last one and completed the list (unless of course someone else likes my status, although it's far enough down on my page now that people might not see it anymore, but I don't really have any statute of limitations on when you can like my status). It was quite the undertaking. I wanted each post to be genuine and not a generic "I like that you are nice and funny," although I felt that some were close to that. Some were easier than others because some were for friends that I see all the time. Some were a little more difficult because they were people I haven't seen since high school, or that I worked with for a summer of camp and then really haven't kept in contact with other than becoming friends on facebook. So it took a lot of time, and a lot of thought, but it was totally worth it.
Taking time to think about the things that I appreciate and admire about people and being intentional about telling them was good for me. I think it's good for all of us. Several months ago, my friend Ben Larson died in the earthquake in Haiti. When we heard about his death, it seemed everyone had something kind and gracious to say about him. And all of it was true. He was, indeed, an amazing young man, filled with joy and talent and kindness and compassion and love and a passion for justice. But part of me wondered if people had taken the time to let him know that he meant that much to them when he was around to hear it. And that goes for everyone, really. When our loved ones die, we are intentional about remembering how great they were and how they touched our lives. But why should we wait until after they are gone? Why can't we let them know how much they mean to us right here and right now?
So I did that with 84 of my friends. I shared with them those qualities I admire, those things that I appreciate about them. And, as an outgrowth of that, I received quite a few kind words shared with me, as well. As I read the things that people appreciated and liked about me, I couldn't help but smile and my heart swelled. It is always nice to hear that you are appreciated and loved. And if I could make someone feel the way that I felt, just by sharing a few kind words, then it was worth all of the time and thought and effort it took to do so.