Each payday, I set a little chunk of money aside to save, and each time I balance my checkbook I must account for that growing chunk – why? because I only go to the credit union where my savings is, a few times a year. Not because it’s far away or difficult to get to. It’s not. I just don’t bother to go there until… well, basically until I feel like it. But my bank where I do my checking and spending – I go to that place frequently. I know the names of the gals who wait on me because I still park my car and walk inside. I want to know how they’re doing, how their mother’s surgery went, and how their grandkids who play football at the high school my sons attended years before are doing. And, they always ask how my little grands are doing, too. We have relationships – not close ones, but we have regular conversations, and I’m always amazed that they can remember so many little details about so many people. That’s a gift, but one that takes effort and intentionality. That credit union where I keep my savings? I don’t know a soul. I only go there when I need to, or when it’s convenient for me.
I was lying in bed this morning on my day off, having planned to sleep in past 5 a.m., which is my normal time to wake up and get ready for work. But nope. – 5 a.m. came, and here’s me – wide awake thinking about all sorts of things. I’m a morning person. Always have been. And as I lay there, I thought about whether or not I should bother to go make the deposit. I mean, I am going to drive right past my credit union today. Should I stop? Make the deposit? The investment? Nah, I’ll wait until December and do it then. I don’t need to now. But then I remembered that if I don’t have some sort of activity in my checking account every so long, my account could potentially go inactive. So, I guess I’ll have to. Argh…. And I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes, too.
Where am I going with this, you ask?
Well, it actually made me think about friendships. Yup. Hold onto that thought for a minute while I digress.
Yesterday my dear friend called me at 6:30 a.m. She knew she could. She knew I was up. She knew I’d answer, and I did. Sarah called from Georgia last night after work at precisely the right time because she knows what time I am finished working. She was excited about a good podcast she’d listened to and was really excited to tell me all about it, and then send a link so that I could enjoy it as well. A couple of weeks ago, Ruth texted and said that she had a free weekend, “I know it’s last minute, but come on down and spend the weekend with us!” she said. She’s 4 hours away. If I hadn’t had any plans, I would have thrown my stuff in the car and been immediately on the road. Edna calls, “Tell me about your week. I want to hear all about it.” My sister and I often talk on our ways to work in the morning, each en route to a different hospital. I saw Mary last Tuesday for only a minute, and she said, “We haven’t talked in a week, and it feels like forever. How are you?” Mary prays for my family, and has for a long time. Then Joyce texted. “Ummm, we need to get something on the calendar. Let’s go to the show.” And then there’s my mom, who I talk to on every drive home from work, and each night before I hit the sack. She loves to hear all about my day.
My close friends and family are a regular part of my daily life. I bet yours are too. And I can remember so many times that I’ve sat across the table from each of the people I’ve mentioned. There’s just nothing like TIME with someone at each other’s kitchen tables. I’ve always said – it’s where life happens – where we genuinely inquire about each others’ lives and families, struggles, heartaches, prayers, and failures, as well as life’s joys, triumphs, and pleasures. Right? (I also always only half jokingly say – always be suspicious of anyone whose kitchen table you’ve never been invited to sit at!)
Friends have teased me about how frequently I balance my checkbook. I’m just a little bit type A about it. But it’s from there that all of my life’s necessities are accounted for, and my friends and family and I do the same with our relationships. They don’t treat me like I treat my credit union, and only stop by, or text, or call (or answer MY calls) only when it suits or benefits them. They don’t just sit at my table – I get invited to spend time at theirs. They don’t just call me every six weeks because they need something, like I would do if I needed to make a withdrawal from that savings account. They don’t just walk past me and not say hello because there’s no reason to invest in our friendship until December when it’s just a necessity. They go out of their way to seek me out and find me and say hello. Without an eye roll, too! LOL
I suppose I just woke up grateful for all of the people in my life – people who get excited to share what they’ve learned, or are interested in knowing what’s happening in my life – this week! They are intentional, and thoughtful, too. I’m glad they know they can count on me to answer the phone at 6:30 a.m. I’m glad that it’s not a relationship like I have with the credit union – going only when necessary after a long period of inactivity, just to make a minimum deposit to keep the account open. We all can identify these relationships in our lives – those who are anxious to tell you all about what’s happening with them, but never stop to ask how you’re doing. Those who only call when they need something, and when they no longer need you, they toss you to the curb like an empty pop can. (I’m not suggesting here that I would ever throw a pop can out the window, but I am suggesting that I’m well aware of what it feels like to be treated like one!) Those whose eyes probably roll when they realize they need to give the minimum, just to keep the account open. Wait… here’s a tough one – those who tell you what you want to hear, instead of what you NEED to hear. Ouch.
It’s always good to know who those people are, the ones whose tables you’ve never been invited to sit at. The ones who never ask how you are, or invest anything at all into a friendship. The older I get, the tighter (not smaller, just tighter) my circle gets. It’s surely one of my life’s sweetest gifts knowing God chooses who’s in it.
It actually IS 6:30 right now, and I just hung up from a morning call from my sister, Nancy. Told ya!
I hope you all have a great day, and if you’ll excuse me now – I’m going to go balance my checkbook, listen to that podcast, and look over my calendar for a good time to visit Ruth!
Cherish your relationships, and invest in those God has sent your way. They are His gifts to you!
“Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” Proverbs 27:9