Thelma & Louise, 1991
The other day I had a few friends over for our weekly bible study, and afterwards a few of us sat around and talked for an additional hour. We laughed, we shared, we cried, we were vulnerable together and it felt so good. As one of my friends put it, her soul craved this.
As a woman in my mid-30’s I have found these relationships are harder to come by. It’s probably because a few years ago we uprooted from our previous town of six years and moved to Portland, only to (mostly) start over again. But it’s also because I’ve become more shuttered up as a person, my free time has dwindled to next to nothing, and often, I cannot find the energy to put into stimulating relationships.
But, I know this is not how I was intended to live. I was meant to be in community with people. Sharing life, doing life, together. So why is it so hard? Why am I closing myself off? Why have I allowed my time to slip through my hands? Where do I find the energy to water and nurture the relationships God has put in my life?
* * *
I have seen the start and finish of many friendships in my life. There was my best friend from 4th grade. We lived in the same block of row houses on the east coast, where our dads were stationed for their military careers. We were in constant company. Sleepovers. Barbies. Swimming. Fireflies. More sleepovers. And then it came time for us to move. Our family uprooted, and where roots once were, only holes were left. Similar scenarios have happened over the course of my childhood and my adult life. Sometimes there wasn’t even a chance for the roots to grow very far below the surface. Sometimes the roots were wrapped deep.
I’ve been fortunate to maintain a few close relationships over the decades. My wonderful best friend has known me longer than anyone outside my family. Though the miles separate us, I count her a tremendous blessing.
* * *
As I examine my desire for deeper relationships in my current stage of life, and run through my aforementioned list of hinderances, I keep coming back to the same conclusion: Pursue. The other day I was reading some footnotes on a part of 2 Timothy and it said, “Too often we rush through our days barely touching anyone’s life.” That is my natural disposition. It’s much easier to be busy than in relationship. But boy is it lonely.
Too often I’ve been guilty of taking the easy way out, but instead I will purpose to do otherwise.
When it is hard, takes energy, and feels outside my comfort zone, I will ask myself, “When have I ever grown inside my comfort zone?”
But the busyness! My life is so full. Keeping my family of five, fed, dressed and clean takes the bulk of my time, not to mention things like exercise, work, household tasks and chores. I will prioritize. I will say no, even to the good things, when I have to.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed that it’s increasingly easier to keep to myself. After all, there’s a world of interactivity on Instagram, isn’t there? But a spark of truth in my heart reminds me that social media pales in comparison to true depth and vulnerability.
I am reminded that relationships are worth pursuing. Worth the time, heart, energy and investment, even if the future brings a time of pulling up roots.