“God is not a 911 operator.” These were the first words I read when I opened Facebook this morning.
This little reminder from a friend got me thinking about it in a much bigger context, and how we sometimes treat friends and family in this way too.
Most of us have been on the receiving end of this kind of relationship, where we feel we’re just there when someone needs something from us, and of course, it makes us feel like crap.
Many of us have also been the perpetrators at some point, and until something shakes us out of the comfort zone of our daily sleepwalk, we might not even realize we’re doing it.
Reflecting on that Facebook post made me feel a little guilty. I realized that, regardless of whatever sense of spirituality each of us may embrace, the notion that we sometimes let our lives “just happen” to us is often at the cost of forsaking all kinds of relationships, and a really meaningful life.
The Gutcheck …
Whenever I catch myself feeling guilt or shame, I try to take a moment to understand what “the takeaway” is. That is, I look for what is making me feel badly, and ask myself if there is something I can do about it, some good that can come of it. In this case it has me really thinking hard on the idea of cultivating “mindful friendships”.
Back to Facebook for a moment: it’s a great example of how we sometimes dilute the value of “mindful friendships”. We might have hundreds of people on our list, but how many are people that we genuinely feel a yearning to break bread with at that digital kitchen table each day? Are we collecting social trophies? Reconnecting out of a sense of novelty or nostalgia? Are the relationships healthy, or toxic?
What would happen if we were to go down that list and distill it into another: the kindred souls with whom we really share a mutual social, emotional and intellectual feast?
There’s an unexpected perk to doing a “mindful friendships” self-audit: some potentially awesome adventure buddies!
A healthy alliance is mutually beneficial. We can inspire each other, support each other, and have all kinds of adventures together, and in truth, sharing adventures is a pretty great way to rekindle a friendship again, no? Whether it’s something small, like picking apples and drinking cider in an old orchard barn, or cutting down a Christmas tree together; or something more epic, like planning a trip to Tuscany to feed your diva souls, the very art of conspiring ways to suck the marrow out of life is both a fun way to bond, and live well.
An invitation …
While I use the example of Facebook here, we’ll want to consider each of the people we choose to connect with — and it is a choice, not an obligation — including those who we connect with offline.
Why not take a moment to open a private page in your journal here, and begin to make a list of the mindful friendships you want to nurture? In addition to giving yourself — and those friends — a gift in the form of a more poignant and purposeful part of yourself, I suspect you’ll find it’s the list you turn to first when you’re looking for partners in crime plotting your wildest and woolliest adventures.