In the past two weeks I have spent every spare moment trying to get in time with my family and friends. I have scheduled coffee date after coffee date, driven 9 hours to visit my brother in Florida (who has lived there two years, and I never visited once before), and countless hours back and forth between my home and school so that I can spend evenings with my parents. While I know that part of the reason I haven’t been able to do this before now is that I have had a lot of school responsibilities, the fact still remains – I have wasted a lot of time that could have been spent building relationships.
I am so grateful for this month that has allowed me to spend such a great deal of time with my family and friends. I am treasuring every moment, because in many cases I am not sure when or if I will see some of these people again. I hope and pray that I do! But it takes two people to keep up a strong and healthy relationship from a distance.
I say all of this to encourage you – live each day like you’re moving to Germany in two weeks. The reality is that we don’t know when our last day will be. Just this week my aunt’s father was diagnosed with cancer. There is too much at steak in this life to live alone. For the longest time I have been a huge proponent of my “me time,” and I have neglected friendships that I could have been building up. Please don’t make the same mistake. Even if you are like me and could easily spend five evenings a week alone, make the effort to reach out.
For myself, it has been really beneficial to make appointments with people and keep a calendar. It may seem crazy to have to set up an exact time for a coffee date two weeks away, but it helps me to know exactly what I have going on with who in the coming weeks. It is also refreshing to know that in reality not all of my time is being taken up with scheduled events. Even with all of the things I have going on, I still have plenty of time to read a book and refuel my introverted side. In a book called Never Eat Alone there is a quote by Margaret Wheatly that says,
Relationships are all that there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can do it alone.
If it is a huge challenge for you to break out of your shell like it was for me (and still is some days), start small. Make it a point to spend intentional time with a friend or family member at least once a day. When we take the time to speak into someone’s life, we are investing in God’s kingdom.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10