Monday, October 5, 2015

On Relationships and Time

Last night my oldest daughter and I slipped away from the rest of the family for a quick Target run. This week has us traveling to Pittsburgh for a family wedding and that brings along with it a fair amount of scrambling. Tights for four girls, dress shoes for three, dress pants for this boy and a dress shirt for that - goodness. Packing 9 people to go anywhere is a feat, but formal wear for 9 is something else altogether. We had a list and a window of opportunity while Dad held down the fort.

We actually left the store empty handed after all - ideas of other places to check for our needed items, but as we walked through the parking lot in the gathering dusk, I noticed an SUV with it's reverse lights on just there ahead. Instinctively, I put my arm around my daughter's shoulders to hurry her along. That's when she put her arm around my waist and I realized she hadn't seen the car at all - she just thought we were having a moment. I'm not a very physical mama but my heart felt like it might explode as we walked the rest of the way to our car just like that - holding each other like the very best of friends.

This year has been one of relationships. As my best friend prepares to move across the country in a week and my oldest brother ties the knot, when another breaks the news of a big move and raising kids has never been more difficult, relationships are front and center in my mind.

The truth is, I'm a relationship slacker. I've had the same friends since I was a kid. Sure, I have acquaintances and friends along the way, but I'm a known phone-avoider and usually prefer knitting and jammies to a night out. A few years ago, when my best friend began investing in other relationships and encouraging me to come along, I told her I just couldn't - my plate was full. And full it is - with 7 kids, a husband, a best friend and my family nearby, it just didn't seem feasible to cram in any other relationships. Besides, I didn't really need them, did I?

Sometimes it takes a few big life changes and challenges to shake up what you thought you needed - and who you thought needed you. Something to make you take a closer look at how you're using your time and beg the question - is this what God has for you right now? Or are you called to something different?

When my best friend told me she was moving, my selfish, knee jerk reaction was one of complete self centeredness. "What will I do?" I wondered. She holds my secrets and loves me knowing all my faults. She's been a constant during so many seasons. What will I do without her? While I am still working through the grief of her move, I am now looking ahead with a different set of questions. What will this open me up to? Who is God going to bring along next?

Last night, my daughter and I talked about her future over smoothies in the van after an all but failed shopping trip, and while I listened to her talk, it occurred to me - our relationship is changing. As she grows, we grow. Just as my Mom is one of my dearest people, I hope that someday she will say the same about me. With an eye on that goal, I can work to shape our relationship into one that stands the test of time, age, distance. In the meantime, I'm praying for good friends, yes, but to grow into being a good friend. And trusting that the one who holds my heart knows exactly what I need - and who needs me.

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