Is friendship necessary?

    Is friendship necessary?
    Many times during my life, I became so wrapped up in work and family responsibilities that I often put my friends on a shelf. I intended to take time to contact them when I had more time, quality time, but alas the quality time got eaten up correcting papers or cleaning the toilet.  By the time I took time to look up at that shelf of friends that I had set aside, I could hardly recognize them.
    Now I am retired, and I have lots and lots of time. No more correcting papers but I still clean the toilet.
    Now I have the time to connect with friends. I feel drawn to connect with friends. I wonder why now? Is it because of my bout with cancer?  Was it because I looked into the future and realized that the time to connect was now, because there might never be a tomorrow?
    I have wondered why now?  Is it because of the improvements in technology that makes it is so easy to connect?
    I have never been a letter writer. Using the phone to make a long distance call was too expensive except to call with bad news or good news, but not just to chit chat. Sharing pictures over the phone was impossible.
    Now I can go online everyday and find out what’s going on in the lives of friends who are miles and miles away. I can check out the pictures of everyday events.  My niece’s dogs lounging at her feet; her beautiful flower gardens, her children, her grandchildren. Former students who have families of their own posting pictures of their children. The everyday moments that makes life worth living.
    Last week I had a friend request on Facebook from a man who called himself Ruger Six. I looked at the picture and thought, “who in the world do I know that posts a picture of himself in camo clothing pointing a military style rifle at a target.” I did not accept his friend request.  My sister called and told me the young man was my nephew.  He lives in Alaska.  I haven’t seen him since he was in his early 20s. He is almost 40 now.  I’ve kept up with him through his mom, pictures of his boys and wife and news about how the family is doing.  But cut off from his everyday life. He is reconnecting with his cousins and aunts and uncles. I will take the time to post pictures of my everyday life. The everyday moments that makes life worth living.
    A week ago I went to the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony.  Not because I wanted to experience the music, but to surprise an old friend that I had lost track of over the years. My sister arranged the meeting. When my friend was ushered to her seat, next to mine, by my sister I heard my sister say, “recognize the lady next to you at the end of the row?”
    Susanne replied, “No” and looked at me.
    My sister said, “That’s Kathy.” She cocked her head and looked again as she came toward me.  When she got close, I pulled down her seat, and said “Sit your butt down, Driscoll.”  Her face lit up and we both laughed and grabbed each other’s arms.  (We couldn’t stand up and hug because the lights were dimming and the symphony beginning.) 24 hours later I got in my car and headed home. Those years and miles between us had evaporated.
    Last weekend during the Meander I took a short drive to Milan.  My nieces and nephews were at their mother’s house to help out with the Meander. As 10 of us gathered around the table for supper, friends and family (some who hadn’t seen each other since high school),  those years and miles between us evaporated.  We were all friends; all family.
    Is friendship necessary?
    C.S. Lewis wrote: “Friendship is unnecessary like philosophy, like art…It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”