Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Breathe {inspiration for Wednesdays}

Last Friday was a T.O.U.G.H. day for me.  I am pretty sure that "seasonal affective disorder" thing was at its high tide, and all I wanted to do was lay on the couch and cry (which I did...a little).  Actually, what I really wanted to do was call a friend, go over to her house in my sweats with no makeup on and share a big, warm cup of empathy (or tea...or a little of both!).   But the problem is, I couldn't think of anyone to call.**

We moved here almost 4 years ago and I could not think of anyone here that I could call....and then that made me sad too!  (Maybe it is good that I didn't intrude on anyone that day...what a bundle of fun I would have been!!)  However, it did get me thinking about how we make friendships...deep, connecting friendships...as adults.  It made me ponder why I have such close friends from the past - people I can share my heart with even though we now only connect over the phone and haven't lived in the same state for years.  How do we forge new friendships as we get older?  How are they built?


I think one of the key ingredients to building any friendship is TIME.  We really need to log time together - talking, listening, doing an activity - especially as we get older.  See, when we are young, we have all the time in the world OR another way to look at it is we are all forced to spend a portion of our time together (ie. elementary school, junior high, high school, even college to some extent).  When we spend that much time together, we now have shared experiences, shared culture, shared stories, shared enemies (ie. our chemistry teacher!), and a shared identity.  Because of all this "sharing", these friendships often offer more grace, because they have seen us in so many different situations.  As Emmerson said, "It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them."

But when we meet one another as adults, we don't have any of that, and it is tough to create over a 5 minute conversation once a week at church, or 15 minutes of polite office chat at work, or even going out for drinks at a local bar while being distracted by the 14 televisions that are broadcasting every sporting event being played at that moment (who knew water polo had it's own channel??).  No...to create real, deep, lasting friendships, we need to give each other time - and quality time at that.

The challenge as we get older then is to be intentional about giving our time to someone else that we'd like to get to know.  We are no longer held captive by our school system and demands on our time become a siren's call to us, but at some point (if we want to be connected) we must choose to give our time to one another, it will not just "happen".


So what does it look like?  It might mean inviting someone over to your house for coffee (even though your place is a mess...remember, you are building a friendship, not creating a model home!).  It might mean having that person and their family over for dinner (even if you are not the best cook!).  It might mean taking a trip together.  It might mean saying "yes" to an activity that really doesn't totally interest you but is really important to the other person.  It might mean planning or it might mean spontaneity, but it will mean choosing to give the other person time (and probably lots of it)!

I like this quote..."If a man does not make new acquaintance as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone.  A man should keep his friendship in constant repair." (Samuel Johnson)  Repair and building friendship takes time, time and more time.  It may be inconvenient but our lives would be less rich without it!!

**(I'd like to make a small disclaimer....I do have friends but many of them were working or were busy while I was having my small breakdown moment above...it all simply got me thinking about how to make friends!)

May we all have, and more importantly, be good friends!

Breathe, smile and go slowly.

1 comment:

Erin McFarland said...

Oh Tara I LOVE your transparency!! You are so so right about the circumstances that allow us to build deep friendships when we are younger that no longer exist when we are adults. I know you have deep roots here. Friends that you could meet with at the drop of a hat. I've never moved away and had to start anew with building those deep friendships as you have these past few years. Your post reminded me to continue to invest time with people (new & old friends) and take a break from the to-do list. Even though you are far away distance wise, you come to mind often... especially when i have a steamy cup of something yummy in my hands or when I see a photo that has more than just surface meaning. I love that photo of you and Renee. BOTH of you have that beautiful sparkle that comes from your soul that makes me so grateful to call you friends. love you