Endings are a mixed bag of tricks.
Some are anticipated with excitement. End of school. Made it through the dentist appointment.
Others bring a sense of sadness. Whatever might have been happening was so wonderful you’d hoped it could go on. An incredible thrill ride. A long-awaited vacation.
It was sad to see this conference end.
So much work has been put into it. Most members of my family have been part of the team who put in long hours, preparing and making sure all things ran well. We’ve passed like ships in a busy harbor, yelling a “How’re you doing?” as we’d walk by each other on the sidewalk.
We all got to see people we’ve not seen in years. Folks we’ve developed relationships with over time, those who’ve built into our lives.
Because of my job, I get the chance to know quite a few people at rather deep levels. I got to see quite a few of these folks over the last couple of weeks.
Having not seen them in awhile, a cursory, “Hi! How’ve you been?” doesn’t cut it. I wanted to know facts. Details. How they’d been succeeding in their new positions. How the family was doing. What their dreams were for the coming year. Conversations that required eyeball to eyeball contact.
I didn’t get to spend time with everyone I’d hoped to see. Some conversations opened doors into more questions.
I ran out of time.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m exhausted. I’ve been sick, which slowed me down a tad. (Steroids and antibiotics are my new buddies.) So much intensity is hard to sustain over time. I was in the middle of one conversation and realized I’d somehow segued from what we’d been talking about to what I’d been talking about with the gal I’d just seen.
Tired minds follow intriguing rabbit trails.
I wanted more time. To see more people, to catch up on more relationships.
There’s real beauty in seeing so many people together in one place. Busy schedules made for little down time. But it worked. Seeing the smiles on faces of folks who’ve not seen each other in years. Proud parents showing off new children to old friends. Pictures being shared widely..
We’re a community. We’ve the same hearts for the same God, wanting to share His story with a world looking for answers.
We all do it differently.
We don’t always agree with each other. We experience conflict, which needs to be resolved. We get angry, where forgiveness is necessary. We hurt one another, where relationships need to be redeemed.
We don’t always do it well.
It’s hard being around people all the time. Living genuinely and caring for others as more important than myself. My selfishness gets in the way. I want my ideas heard and valued.
There’s no formula for friendship. It’s work. Being intentional about caring for others.
As a community of Christ followers, we don’t always succeed at living as He’d like.
We mess it up.
But times like this, when we’re together, reminds me that these are the relationships that will last.
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