Another Reminder of How Relationships Used To Be
A friend recently mentioned that a small group of people he gets together with from church stopped meeting in November and December because things were getting busy around the holidays. I laughed. It was such a simple thing to mention but he might as well have stood up and casually dumped his cup of tea on my head.
I recognized the scenario from years of being in such groups, where there are ten schedules to coordinate and a lot of "oh that weekend doesn't work so well for us" before that one opening presents itself and 75% of the people can be there so it gets tucked into a corner of the calendar.
And I still encounter this here and there, but not with our friends who live next door and two houses down. Since December 1st we've got together 15 or so times, and very little of that "scheduled" or "another thing" we should do. We have laughed together, ate together, talked through some of the heftier questions of life together.
This way of being with people has been one of the key features of centering our life around a geographic point. If you drive a nail into our home on a map and then set a rubber band on it that starts to stretch when you want it to reach anything over four blocks, that is how we live most of our life. Our church is less than a block away, my office is a block and a half, and The Electric Brew where I have most of my meetings is just over a block.
Sticking with the rubber band metaphor—it's not a hard and fast rule. Courtney works in Elkhart right now, and I frequently get out of town or state to play shows. But the bulk of our weekly life and relationships happen inside this little piece of the planet.
This has it's hard edges of course. We cannot go anywhere in our little world without the very high chance of running into someone (more like ten people) we know. So if we are peopled out, we don't go out to eat, or to first Fridays, etc. Another difficult thing is that you are pretty well stuck with the other people who move in that same area. If it is uncomfortable to be around someone, well that's just too bad, neither of you are going anywhere anytime soon.
But these are hard edges that feel like good work. It's the difference between the tiring long day farming that I grew up with and the burnt out long day that I've sometimes experienced as an entrepreneur. There is something good about being stuck with people. We see it in movies where very different get tethered by circumstance, stranded together or tied by the same purpose. We have these sorts of relationships, often as a result of work, worship, or family, but we often spread these categories out over a couple of counties. So we have our work friends in one county, and our church friends who meet every Sunday 20 minutes away (but they live another 20 minutes in the opposite direction), and our coffee shop/amazing local pub friends.
But we've spent the past few years working on tying those things together with geography and it has been such a gradual but drastic shift that I don't hardly notice it until someone reminds me how it used to be.
P.S. I went back and did some looking. Apparently this is the sort of post I've already done from time to time. And another one here.