I think the show was so popular for the same reason Sex and the City was popular- it was about relationships and whatever else the characters went through, they experienced it with friends. They were as close as family. No matter what happened- big or small, silly or serious- there were always people around that would hug, kiss, cry or laugh them through it.
It's sad that so many of us lapped up the fictional stand-in for true friendship. Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe were the ones who went with me to Germany. Obviously, not in real life, but at the time they were a constant for me. The show ended, and my life went on. The fictional escape into a life of close-knit friends ended, and I faced the reality of being in a new country surrounded by people who spoke a language I couldn't comprehend, in a new military life that I was still trying to navigate. It shocked me into my own shell of a life from which I rarely emerged. By the time I left Germany after five years, I knew only a couple of people well enough to maintain any sort of communication with after I left. Looking back, it was an empty and lonely existence.
Yet in my short time in England I have already met people who have retreated into themselves and their lives and neglected the beauty of friendships. I hurt for them because I have known both the drive to avoid people in order to avoid the pain of loss when I (or they) move, and the pain of leaving with no one to care. Fear of pain or honesty about themselves trumps the warmth of friendship, but in the end it only stings the spirit. I know. I can still recall the sting with vivid remembrance.
I delight in the friendships I have known- both the long-standing ones reaching back into my childhood and the newer ones that are only days and weeks old. Already here in England I've chosen to reject my former lonely ways and seek out friends. What a blessing! I love that Heather is like a sister to me, and Billie is more precious than she can know; that Amber is still as dear as ever, and that I am forging new friendships with R and J. They enrich my life and give the opportunity to reach out and share whatever I can whenever it is called for.
In the coming weeks Heather and I plan to put a stronger and more focused emphasis on friendships here at Kicking It In Crazyville. We want you to glory with us in the beauty of God-given friendships.
“This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.”