Tonight, my husband and I had dinner with some people from our past. While we’re still friends today, the season of our lives when we were really around them a lot and spent tons of time together was ages ago. We met when we were in the same Sunday school class for young married couples in the late 1990s. Our kids were babies together and today those babies are all finishing high school or going to college. While it seems like a lifetime ago, the depth of those friendships in the early years of marriage and parenting were so strong that, all these years later we can pick up where we left off like no time has passed.
As we sat and talked during dinner, it was clear that the investments we made in each other’s lives all those years ago were strong. While we may not travel in the same circles, go to church together or even have kids in the same school district anymore, our conversations went beyond surface level stuff because we have a history with these people. We’ve “done life” with them and lived through hard things together. A million years ago, we had play dates and talked potty training together. We’ve confessed sins and unburdened our souls to each other. We’ve studied the Bible together and discussed hard questions of theology. We’ve prayed for each other and made hospital visits for surgeries and delivered meals during cancer treatments over the years.
I got to thinking about how often these days we let go of people too quickly or treat them with indifference. We have become a society of instant gratification. Our communication has been shortened to a handful of characters, short enough to fit into a text or a twitter post. If the people in our lives are not connected via social media, we lose track of them. But friendships are built on so much more than we can fit into an email.
Tonight I began to think about the people who are in my life today that I haven’t really invested in. Some of them are people who make me feel uncomfortable for whatever reason, so I avoid getting too involved with them. Others are people I don’t like much so I avoid them. But what if those are the very people who I’ll be sitting across the table from twenty years from now if I’d just invest in them now? What if those people I’m not invested in are very ones who will help me in the future or maybe they are the parents of the boys or girl my children will one day marry?
Friends, take the time to invest in those around you. Even if you feel like the person is just passing through your life briefly, even if you don’t really like them very much. Spend time with them. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Put yourself out there. Give of yourself and your time. You just don’t know what the future holds or how deeply you may affect one another.