Friends and self-care
Ever have times when you were so busy you barely had time for a meal, when you went right back to your office/study after an evening meeting to finish a project, when you barely had time to breathe, when your laundry piled up, the houseplants wilted for lack of water and the dishes piled up in the dishwasher (because you didn’t even have time to turn it on)?
That’s where I am. I’m not going to list the many meetings, projects, and so on that I have deadlines for in the next four days…but rest assured, I don’t think I’ll have much free time for the next ten days.
Which is why I’m planning to take tonight off. A good dinner, a little Jeopardy, some light reading and bed early. It’s what I need to get through the next few days!
Lest you think I’m a very grounded person who always knows what she needs and takes it, let me say that this wouldn’t be happening if not for a letter from a friend of mine that arrived today. He is ill, chronically so, and had not been taking care of himself. But one day he realized that he probably wasn’t going to die that week, or even that month, and if he was going to live for a while, he might want to do so in a state of as much health as he could muster. And so he made some changes in his life, not the least of which is pulling back on activities, taking evenings to himself, taking care of himself.
What was so wonderful about his letter is that he thanked me for writing to him while I was on retreat (his letter was in response to mine), for taking the time while I was at a place where he would love to be, to think of him and write.
There is grace. Not only the warmth of our reconnection, but his openness, his honesty in confessing his need, his shortcomings (as he sees them), and to thank me for hearing him into speech, when I have long felt that he was the one encouraging me to grow and change and become what I needed to be.
There is the true agape love—helping each other to grow in love for ourselves, for God, in service to God, and in love for others. There is no part of our relationship that is self-serving—if he receives support from me, so do I receive encouragement from him. When I needed a good slap upside the head, he gave it to me. When he tends to neglect himself, I (unwittingly, in this instance), remind him that he is not the only one who cares about him. And so on.
I cherish him, and our friendship. I’ll be seeing him soon, and I’m saying this now, here in my blog, so I won’t forget or decide it really isn’t important—I will tell him how very important he is to me, and how much I treasure our friendship.
If you have a friend like that—your partner, spouse, friend—be sure to tell them how much you treasure them. I know we hear that all the time, but have you done it? If you haven’t said it recently, try it. They need to know, and so do you.