This week I learned of the death of a childhood friend. We were the same age and first met in kindergarten. We both took piano lessons from my grandmother and shared stage nerves sitting behind the gold curtains at Case Brothers Music House. We whispered teenage secrets and confided young adult angst. I hosted a bridal shower for her before her wedding, and then our lives diverged.
Although we kept up to some extent via social media, we hadn’t seen each other in person for years. Now, suddenly, she is no longer here, and I wonder why I didn’t exert more effort to stay in touch.
Following are thoughts on dormant relationships:
Various Forms of Separation
Perhaps it is human nature to fail to find time to communicate with those who once held an important place in our lives.
Disconnect occurs for many reasons, among them, a change in proximity, differing world views, difficult circumstances, or misunderstandings. Any of these create distance and make maintaining relationships more challenging.
I’m thankful my friend and I were separated by geographic location rather than an unresolved misunderstanding, but many times that is the reason connections erode. Confronting or discussing the source of a rift is something most of us would rather avoid, but relationships are worth the effort.
To overcome separation, each person has to be willing to put forth effort to maintain the relationship.
A Narrowing Circle of Focus
The daily grind strains connections even if some form of distance isn’t involved. And when your focus, and a friend’s, are in different directions, the space grows. Changing life seasons shift focus and bring new people into our lives, which is normal. Integrating those relationships with former ones requires balance.
The Fine Art of Procrastination
Often procrastination is our default mode, especially when brain power, effort, and scheduling are involved. That which feels urgent rarely involves relationship maintenance. Our lives are more focused on what has to be done right now, or tomorrow, and can go on a check list. The involvement of time, emotion, and effort sends the maintaining of relationships to the bottom of the list. Waiting widens the gulf. Eventually, staying connected falls off the list.
Failing to Realize the Brevity of Life
Those who have lost friends to COVID-related complications understand how quickly life circumstances change. We always think we have more time to reconnect or take care of issues that separate. Then, suddenly, the opportunity is gone.
Would we feel a greater sense of urgency, and more fully appreciate relationships, if we knew the time frame of our lives?
Decide today is the time to make the first move to reconnect with long-ago friends. Forgive, if that is part of the process. Make forward motion a priority. Life is like a vapor, here and then gone, and tomorrow may be too late.
“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” Proverbs 27:9 NLT
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include While You Wait: 7 Simple Truths for Seasons of Waiting (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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