I started a blogpost some days ago about looking for — and eventually tracking down — someone I knew in Pittsburgh Days of Yore. Moreover, I recently mentioned on the Facebook old missionary page I run that I wish I could find my one truly lost comp, whom I haven't heard anything from or about for more than 30 years now.

The odds of my finding Sister H are very small, I think, and those odds are helpful for freeing me from any odd attendant feelings of obligation or guilt I might otherwise have. By contrast, as for my Pittsburgh friend, the fact that I know where she is, and where her children are (who were friends with our older children back in the day)… has not led me to contact her or them, at least not yet. And perhaps I won't ever do so.

—And it's that last possibility that I find a little disquieting (and yet surprisingly not as guilt-inducing as I'd expected). I used to be so good at maintaining relationships. I kept in touch with lots and lots of people for years. I was the one who gathered the info and produced and sent out the newsletter for the missionary song-and-dance groups I was a part of; my Christmas list was long; I always tried to see far too many people whenever I'd go out West from Parts East.

But the past few years — make that practically the past couple of decades now, I suppose — have seen a significant downward slide away from connectedness, even counting the hiccup of Facebook and all.

(I have found several old friends on Facebook and become "friends" with most, and yet… that hasn't translated into much actual communication and rarely, only rarely has it meant making the effort to get together when I am Stateside. I am nearly always willing to get together when people make the effort to let me know that they are on this side of the Atlantic, and I guess I'm always surprised, and perhaps even a little hurt, depending, when I find out that so-and-so was actually someplace nearby in France or Germany and didn't let me know they were coming. And yet that's very like how I am these days: I just don't have the time, don't have the energy, don't feel the need — or more germanely, the guilt — to try to keep up the ties I used to. —But I digress.)

It isn't that these people, these Facebook friends and others still residing in old snail-mail address books aren't important to me. I grant that some are more important than others, certainly, but I find myself neglecting even people who are still important to me (I will refrain from focusing this piece on my immediate family, which is a different story). I just don't seem to have the emotional energy, if that's what I can call it, to be as involved as I once was.

It would be nice to be able to blame social media for the fatigue, and there may be something to that, given that nearly everyone on my FB friends list is on equal footing, status-wise: I see things from mere acquaintances scrolling by as often as I see things from friends, close friends, family, close family. Obviously I should take the time to filter things better so that I don't miss anything important from those who are more important to me. (Of course, a lot of those people aren't exactly verbose when it comes to updating their statuses….)

The other factor in my fatigue, as it were, is discovering how much wider the gap is between me and so many of my old friends newly-found. I'd say more than half of those I have reconnected with are politically and religiously much farther from me than they are geographically and temporally. Yes, I care about them, at least for old times' sake and all, but omg, I do not want to see one more shared FauxNews story about the evils of Obamacare. I don't want to see yet another conserva-quote from some Iron Rod-up-the-rear church authority. I don't want to be reminded that here is yet another person with whom I disagree on many, many fundamental issues…

…Especially when it didn't use to be this way. Of course, it is unquestionably I who have moved the farthest away from the Comfort Zone, and yet there has been perceptible motion right-ward for many of these old friends — even over the relatively short time I and they have been on Facebook, for crying out loud. Per my previous post, I am not really sure how safe I feel about talking to them about such things, preferring (as ever) to avoid Possible Unpleasantness (or in some instances, absolutely guaranteed unpleasantness). Is not feeling able to be open really friendship?

… I will let the question linger in the air.

So is that why I don't want to contact my old Pittsburgh friend — afraid that I will end up with yet another person in my "omg, I can't believe that she's gone off the deep end, too" list? And even if she hasn't… well. Part of me thinks I should spend what limited social energy I have in keeping up with some of the people who have been the most loyal and the most likeminded (and thus in many ways the most fun) and the most committed to being friends over the years. The relatively small number in this category ought to be manageable, and yet here I am, typing this blogpost instead of sending emails to or skyping with them as I ought. I nearly always enjoy catching up once I've done it, but as with tracting… getting started is so very hard.

Need to start knocking on those doors again: these few are not people I want to lose.