One of the difficult parts in moving to another area of the county is leaving behind friends. Social media has made it easier but in my opinion it’s still not the same as face-to-face time over coffee! Sadly, drifting apart is only a matter of time, no matter what you do. Recently I was able to reconnect with six friends from the St. Louis area and spend 4 days together. I am so happy I had this time to catch up on our families, ministries and personal lives. I am blessed to know each one of them!
I like what ancient King Solomon wrote in his book called Ecclesiastes: “It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps. But if there’s no one to help, tough!” (4:9-10 MSG) I’ve seen both sides of that statement to be true. The friendships in my life are a treasure and have come to my aid many times in many ways.
Moving to Colorado (Green Acres) was not my first move. Besides Missouri, I have also lived in Illinois, New York, and beautiful Oregon. Translation: lots of good-byes to friends and many strained relationships. Experiencing these moves across the country has taught me a lot about relationships. One of the most important lessons has been this: Nurture your friendships because one of the best things you can do for yourself is to be a good friend to others. Sometimes, strike that, many times this is easier said than done. This requires time, patience and most often the use of a lot of conversation and words. When you’re an extrovert who is verbal that is easy, but, when you aren’t an extrovert who is verbal it takes a real effort.
A few years ago I read John Maxwell’s book called Becoming a Person of Influence. What he said in that book about words and our relationship with others has been timeless advice I keep handy. In summary, he stresses the value of using these important words in our conversations with others:
- The least important word: I
- The most important word: We
- The two most important words: Thank you.
- The three most important words: All is forgiven
- The four most important words: What is your opinion?
- The five most important words: You did a good job.
- The six most important words: I want to understand you better.
So, take it to heart and be good to yourself by tending to your friendships!
Time is up for me and my six St. Louis friends at our mini-retreat. We are all heading back home but the moments we have spent together have been sweet. So until the next time… thank you Colleen, Susan, Lisa, Linda, Carol and Janet for keeping connected with me, carving out this time to get together, and speaking kindness, encouragement, technical information and the wealth of your God-centered wisdom with me. How blessed I am to have you as my friends!
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one. ― C.S. Lewis