My sabbatical is about to begin. Much of it is unstructured and unplanned, except for this: I want to put some time and energy toward the one thing that often gets short shrift because of the nature of my work: my non-ministerial relationships.
In a column in the New York Times last week, David Brooks spoke to this in “The Secrets of Lasting Friendships.” He shares that researcher Robin Dunbar found “that over the course of a month, people devote about eight and a half hours to each of their five closest friends, and they devote a bit more than two hours a month (basically a dinner or a lunch) to the next 10 who complete their 15-person circle. They devote, on average, less than 20 minutes a month to the other 135 people in their larger friend circle.”
Oh, Lordy, have I been slacking on my closest friends. It is time to take some trips to see them, to spend some good and meaningful time together, as my grandma used to say, “making memories.”
I am incredibly lucky to have some close friendships that are sturdy. They are not fragile. They can and have withstood disagreements, disappointment with one another, hard conversations, and taking each other for granted. These friends will take me to task and I, them.
I am lucky, but I don’t want to just rest in that luck – these relationships are so precious to me, they deserve more of my time and energy. So I will be spending some of my time investing in these friendships. Breaking bread together, having those intense conversations you do with your closest ones, laughing uproariously.
As we (hopefully) come out of the pandemic, how will you invest in your friendships? As new people come to Live Oak, how will you practice, as Brooks describes, “aggressive friendship”?
See you in September.