Swing sets and chalkdust make friendship so easy. Some friends are so pasted together with Elmer's and scribbled upon with Crayola's that the marks are indelible, the bonds unbreakable. They are as broad and deep as a child's imagination, and whether they play on one side of the playground today or the other tomorrow, you know they are still on the playground.
But I have lost friends. I have pushed some off the playground. Some I've mistreated in small or big ways, and it makes me hurt inside and out to think about it. (Do they know how much I miss them? Do they care?) Some of their needs have overwhelmed me. Some, I've ignored. I am not a perfect friend.
Some have walked different paths and the people we were no longer are. We mutually laid aside our friendship because it no longer fit. Wearing those garments is awkward and, sometimes, ridiculous. That is not to say that I stop loving them. That is not to say that I stop thinking of them.
I am thankful for my friends. But there are miles and miles between me and them. The playground has gotten a whole lot bigger. Around the corner now means across the mountains, state lines, borders, and oceans. New friends? I admit it would be nice. But I'm afraid I don't know where the swing sets are.
The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel
(The quote is a little on the Annie Wilkes side of relationships, but it's well-intentioned. And I like it. So hobble me.
The Internet eats up the miles and spits them out contemptuously. It makes a nice swing set, especially if you prefer zeroes and ones over the tangibility of presence. It's an imperfect medium in many ways. But it does do in a pinch, doesn't it?)