Yet Another Zoom Call
After 30 minutes I was logging off Zoom.
Finishing a call with one of my lifelong friends, I had feelings of discontentment, frustration and uncertainty, all in one.
Not usual feelings after our conversations or coffee dates, but these days, in this current ‘lockdown’, this is what our friendship had been reduced to, yet another Zoom call.
Sure, it was nice to speak to her and I am thankful for technology (although secretly wishing I had invested in shares of Zoom before this all kicked off) but I couldn’t shift the unsettling feeling.
After a series of these unusual calls for work meetings, conversations with friends, worship gatherings and quiz nights I had become used to the frozen faces, the repeated questions and the lack of audio.
Meanwhile, I had adopted a heavy reliance on those consistently flickering Wi-Fi bars to get me through. At the end of the week I left the screens feeling exhausted.
I am a fairly social person and thrive from being around people.
Leaving home at 17, travelling to Africa, heading to University and now settling as a Primary Teacher in Aberdeen, I have made my own extended family through my friendships over the years:
Incredible women of faith battling the mission fields where I travelled.
University friends who helped me stand strong in my faith and knowledge of the truth.
A Church family that continues to support and love me for the sheep that I am.
And finally, my work family who help me laugh and cry in times of hardships and keep my sanity when teaching 8-year-olds!
These people I have come in contact with are my friends.
Friends that I trust, love, value, respect and who are the building blocks that make me who I am today.
Now, some weeks into these unusual circumstances of 2020, I miss my friends.
I am beyond thankful to be safe, to be healthy and to have an NHS community who are risking their lives for the people like me staying at home. But I am finding this hard. Hard not being able to see my friends, families and colleagues.
What I Value In A Friend
After what seemed like the billionth Zoom call this week - it got me reflecting on what I value in a friend.
This friend I had spent 30 minutes talking to, listened, loved, didn’t judge and enjoyed my company. She wanted to know all I had been up to and how I was keeping busy.
Upon reflection, a true friend is what we want and desire throughout the journey of life – someone to cry with in the hard times and laugh with in the happy ones.
Yet for me, in my moment of frustration, I felt this had been taken from me.
However, I was very wrong. My Bible lay on the bedside table; it didn’t have a screen, nor those dreaded Wi-Fi bars that my connection would depend on. This book revealed to me the truest friend of all.
In the Bible we read:
“But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother”—(Proverbs 18:24).
God sticks closer to us than any friend or brother we have on earth – He is always with us.
He doesn’t insist on a strong Wi-fi connection to hear us and doesn’t require the latest technology or a scheduled meeting time.
God is a friend who cares for us, guides us, listens to all that we say and wants to know our burdens.
A friend that would sacrifice his only Son for us to live the life we live now – there is no greater friend than this.
One Friend I Truly Need
As the days continue to be uncertain, something I have learnt from the past few weeks is that God is the one friend I truly need and the one I will always have.
Yes, God can use people in my life to come alongside and support me on my journey, and I have been blessed by many such friendships to this day along with a supportive and loving family. But here are some questions I ask myself:
- Do I speak to God as much as to those around me?
- Do I complain to my friends rather than bringing my burdens to God?
- Do I thank those around me before I praise and thank the ultimate Creator of all things?
A relationship with God should be prioritized over my earthly friendships.
As I shut my laptop, having worked through the feelings of uncertainty of when I will next see my friend again, I am thankful for the reminder of a friend who never leaves.
Thankful that I have the best ‘connection’ of prayer, and the privilege of ‘scheduled meeting times’, through the reading of my Bible, with the best friend of all.