Ah! Relationships. Doesn’t it just make your heart swell when you think of them? I am talking about the many types of relationships that don’t take place on looking-for-love sites or under the covers. The ones that nurture and sustain us but go unnoticed. One of the many benefits of getting older are the countless types of relationships I’ve been blessed to have experienced.
When I started sifting through the various connections in my life, I took a trip all the way back to my childhood. I stumbled across the memory of a woman who babysat me for several years. Mrs. Clark was a pillar of the community. Having raised her own children, she was a foster parent to several other wards of the state years long before it became of national interest. In her later years she was a babysitter for countless children, becoming more than a nine-to-five guardian. My memories of Mrs. Clark are many. But what stands out the most is how she would engage me in conversations as if I were an adult, sharing whispered and funny insights about other kids. Whenever I spent the night, she would insist that I stay up and watch television with her, laughingly saying, “But you have to promise not to fall asleep.” It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized what a kind and caring soul she had been in my life. It has been nearly forty years since she died but I couldn’t write about nurturing relationships without remembering Mrs. Clark.
Relationships don’t just happen by coincidence because there is no such thing. Some relationships may take a bit of work, but I don’t believe the good ones feellike work. The best of relationships need not be engaged in every day or every month. Many relationships quietly bloom on their own over thousands of miles and long absences. Whether it is with a neighbor, a store clerk, co-worker, daily commuter, friend, or family member, relationships and the cultivation of them make us feel good.
We put a lot of energy into external activities, yet when it comes to nurturing our personal relationships we tend to give them a secondary status. Perhaps it is because we believe that these relationships will always be there or that because our loved ones know how much we love and care for them our job is done. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every
day as I become more aware of how fast time is fleeting and just how precious life is, I vow to pay a little more attention and to make the time (no matter how pressed for it I may be) to stop to make the call, write the note, or to thank God for all those who are still in my life.
With that having been said, I wish each of you the power to find that special relationship