I just got home from a long weekend trip to visit friends I don’t often get to see. We had a great time. I enjoyed the break from my work/school routine, the Oregon winter, and got to see sun, thrilling desert and important people.
On the complicated and frustrating way home (travel can be such a pain in the ass), I realized that investing in friends and family is the most rewarding effort possible. Spending time with each other, even if it’s just watching television side by side, lets our spirits commune. A cup of coffee (or ice water, as the case may be) for an hour at the kitchen breakfast bar is more important than a thousand emails. I mean I know this. I’ve always known this.
But this trip, for some reason, turned my head around. None of us is getting any younger, and some time I’ll go to Arizona and find that I have one fewer friend to visit. That will be a sincerely bad day. But it will be much less horrible because of the trip I just had–the time I just invested–in wonderful friendships.
So I say this: If there’s someone you want to visit, get on with it. Time’s wasting. Your relationship is languishing. Forget the stock market and invest yourself in the most important, lasting, reality in the universe.
Filed under Aging, connections, family, Friends, girlfriends, Personalities, Possibilities, relationships, Spirituality, time, Travel
Well, that didn’t take long.
I searched and found a couple of people I knew, so I invited them to be my “friend.” Soon their friends were my friends. Then my dog has her own page on Dogbook (can you believe this?) and she has her own dog friends. And I’m a member of groups, and they have friends.
It’s the ultimate time suck. And addictive.
Perhaps I’ll be there more often than I imagine. And I still feel as though I ought to have a professional presence there as well as a personal presence. Hmmm. Maybe the twain will finally meet.
Regardless, I better go check to see what all my “friends” are up to. That will keep me from pining about not having the new updated Kindle.
So I’ve heard lots and lots about Facebook, so I decided to join. I joined MySpace about a year ago as research, but it didn’t impress me. I’ve been there a total of two times. Now, I guess MySpace is so last year and Facebook is very user friendly and absolutely imperative.
Really? What’s the point?
If I make a page using my professional name, then none of the people from my high school(s) would recognize it, and there’s no way to put a second searchable name in there. So does that mean I need two Facebook pages? Do I want to hear from those people anyway?
So I guess I’m asking…. what’s the point?
I already belong to groups with common interests, like Ravelry for knitting (totally awesome). And I stay on top of news of The Urantia Book through other outlets, although I see that Facebook does have several Urantia book sites.
Mostly, I’m busy with work and school, and don’t have a lot of time to sit online and dawdle. Is that what this site is for? Sucking time?
I can think of better ways to waste time.
So I’m on Facebook, but you’re not likely to see me there very often.
Men and Women. Will we ever understand each other?
I say: No.
I believe this tension of difference is the attraction, and also the frustration.
This male/female tension has been the stuff of literature, movies, sitcoms and countless cups of coffee and tear-stained napkins throughout the centuries.
But what’s the purpose?
Why couldn’t we just have a meeting of the minds, understand each other and be done with it? We could save so much time, just get on with living our lives conflict-free and easy.
Alas. The self/selfless tension is like the animal/spiritual tension. We’re drawn to one, yet grounded in the other. It takes work to move beyond the one and gain the rewards of the other.
But doing so does have its rewards. One is that we’re forced to hone our creativity in communications to minimize misunderstandings. Stimulating creativity is a good thing.
Another is the benefit of a well-rounded banquet of experiences, because without that yin/yang tension, we would fall into complacency. Complacency is a good treat now and then, but not as a steady diet.
Perhaps the most important is because when we commit to someone of the opposite sex, we’re really committing to better ourselves, to learn to rise above the pettiness, to sincerely endeavor to understand rather than to be understood. Relationships are rife with pettiness and misunderstandings. And yet, that tension of attraction endures.
It’s a mystery.
It is, perhaps, THE mystery.
I love a good mystery.
It only makes sense that there are a limited number of personality “types” in the world. We live in an orderly universe, after all. Astrology would have us believe there are twelve. According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, there are sixteen. The Enneagram says there are nine.
Last weekend I took a class in the Myers-Briggs (I’m an INFJ) and in the Enneagram (I’m a 7), and was stunned to speechlessness at how accurate they both were in talking about me. I’m also a Taurus, and that profile fits like a glove, too, all of them different, yet surprisingly undeniable.
Some people are distressed when they discover that they conform to a certain type, others find comfort in it.
I like it.
I like seeing my strengths and weaknesses from the point of view of an impartial observer. I like seeing my husband’s natural traits spelled out for me in a book, and from now on, I’ll react differently to some of the things he does and says because I know those things are in his nature. I don’t try to change him, and we don’t fight, but I do my share of eye-rolling. That will stop now that I understand him better.
The Urantia Book says that the key to loving our neighbors is understanding them. I came a long way toward that this weekend, and had yet one more gut-level validation about the exquisite architecture of this magnificent universe in which we live.
Is it a part of the human condition to yearn?
Are we hard-wired to want more, bigger, better?
Those of us who do not are dismissed with a wave of the hand: “He has no ambition.” As if that is a bad thing.
This conversation came up last night when I went for a good, heart-pumping walk with Sue Palmer, after the rest of our writing group failed to show up. Sue and I were discussing our mothers and our families, and how most women feel that they yearn for something unidentifiable from their mothers that they have failed to receive. By the same token, they are fearing that they are failing their children in some unidentifiable away.
I believe that we are indeed hard-wired to seek spiritual awareness. And I have looked at too many gardens to realize that the big old cabbage never reverts back to a teenie seed. All of life, it seems, is progressive. Everything moves forward in its pre-ordained channel. That cabbage never changes its mind and becomes an eggplant. That’s a good thing.
And so we are too, moving forward in our channels–chosen or preordained, depending on your philosophy–always seeking more. At some point we put away the seeking for money and fame and stuff, and instead turn our seeking for more meaningful experiences. Today I seek for understanding of myself and my friends, and those amazingly diverse people who travel this planet with me. Instead of a new car, I want to go to Alaska. Instead of being understood, I yearn to understand.
Surely that’s why I’m a writer. I want to understand why people do the things they do.
Are my kids yearning for something I haven’t provided? Probably. Maybe that’s a talk I’ll have with each of them some day. Then we can all understand each other a little better, and they will be free to yearn for other things.
Last week I got an email from a man I dated when we were both in high school. It wasn’t serious dating, we were good friends and enjoyed each others’ company. I have many fond memories of our times together, hanging out, waterskiing, going to the zoo… and when he left for college and I had demons pushing me in other directions, we lost contact. And then… all these years later… I get an email.
We’ve been corresponding a little bit since, catching up on each other’s lives, and it reminds me again that relationships happen outside of time. When I see my cousins after many years, we pick up–literally–right where we left off. No time has passed in our friendships, regardless of our outward appearances and the changes that have taken place as time moves us along.
So what is it that we share between us that transcends time? And whatever it is, does it endure to death–and beyond?
To you, Richard: we may never lay eyes on one another again except via emailed photographs, but know that you’re in my heart. Always have been, always will be.