I was in a small group training at a church once that made the very helpful point that accountability has to be invited or it usually won't be received. Meaning you can't hold someone accountable who does not want to be held accountable...or who does not want to be held accountable by you.
Well, not many people read this blog, but I am inviting those who do to hold me accountable to begin posting at least weekly from now on. I am moving out of the romantic thought that writing is only for when I feel moved to put words on paper (or in this case, the screen) and moving into a more disciplined attitude that writing, like anything else in life, requires effort and improves with practice.
I have Mondays off so there's no reason why I can't carve out some time every Monday to post a little something on this blog.
So here's todays musing.
I met a friend for lunch today - a last minute invite which just happened to work out perfectly. I've realized the unplanned get-togethers often end up being the most pleasureable - like a happy surprise in an otherwise ordinary day.
This particular friend is moving out of state soon - in fact more than half-way across the country to that beautiful gem in California called San Francisco. I was glad for the opportunity to have some time with her knowing our days of spontaneous lunches are numbered. We had a wonderful lunch - good food, good service...but the best part was the good fellowship. She is a longtime friend whose company I enjoy, who always has kind words to say and who never makes me feel uneasy. Which isn't to say that she's never challenged me, she has, but always with grace.
I know I'm going to miss her, but here's what I realized...I have other friends here that I can meet for lunch, or dinner or some other kind of get together that maybe doesn't involve food. Whereas she is going somewhere new, far from here, where she knows no one.
I've only moved from the Chicago area once. It was twenty years ago, my husband went with me and I knew it was temporary. We lived on an army base (well just off an army base) in southern Alabama for six months. I tried to get a temporary job but it turns out the local paper's want ads were slightly less substantial than the Chicago Tribune. Three people were looking for nurses and four were looking for peanut crop farmers. My skills did not qualify for either.
One of the officers in my husband's training class encouraged me to volunteer on base. I did and it was the beginning of a long and rewarding experience of community service. It also introduced me to a diverse group of people I would have never met otherwise. I'm a pretty outgoing person, but I wasn't always that way and making new friends isn't always as easy as it sounds. While I certainly met a lot of people while volunteering, I didn't make any friends through my involvement with that group. It was the other army wives that were on common ground and that gave us a platform for becoming friends.
Having something in common can really get the ball rolling. So when my friend was wondering where she was going to meet people, I suggested the places she most often went would be a good place to look for new friends, starting with where she worked. She seemed skeptical and then talked about finding a church as soon as possible and trying to get connected there.
I'm embarrassed to admit that this wasn't my first thought. Especially since I work in a church and talk almost daily with colleagues about getting people connected with other members of the church. It occurred to me I may have been taking for granted the enormous support system my family has and the wealth of friends both current and potential that are in our lives because of our church. Because the church is more than a building, the church is the body of Christ, and just by sharing faith in the Son of God we are automatically made members of one body. That's a great place to make new friends.
And it makes it easier to watch my friend go trusting God has new friends waiting for her there.