This past weekend I attended the funeral of a friend. Well, she was more than a friend. She was the wife of the pastor who performed my marriage 10 years ago. This couple was a pair of spiritual giants to us in those days. They were not only pastors; they were spiritual parents to my wife and me.
They mentored us in prayer and deliverance, teaching us to begin and keep our marriage free from our past hang-ups and emotional baggage.
We grew extremely close to them as well as a whole community of Africans and others who attended Tulsa International Christian Center back in 2003-2006.
This was a while ago, but my wife and I still think back to that time with nostalgia. It was an amazing season of rich and powerful experiences. The church was a cultural buffet where we literally ate assorted cuisines and heard worship and conversations in multiple languages. We were given Kenyan clothing, danced to Congolese music, and spent most Friday nights in prayer until four or five am.
As newlyweds learning to love each other, we also were adopted into a culture that lived with a passionate devotion that greatly impacted and inspired us.
But when the church closed its doors and as many moved away, we’ve seemed to keep more memory than lifestyle or relationships.
And this saddens me a bit. Mingling with people and watching conversations… Seeing children who’ve grown yet hardly know who you are…
I know life gets complex and overwhelming at times as you grow older. I admit I have been slow to realize that not every relationship can be maintained through decades.
So I may be a little naive about expectations. But about the value of friendships, I’m sure I’m right. Relationships are some of the most valuable things we can invest in and work to keep as we age.
Sweet and meaningful relationships don’t have to end when jobs change or schools which brought us together end.
What’s the point of all our technology, unlimited minutes, and social media if it can’t keep us connected in meaningful ways with the people who really matter?
Rich experiences from the past may remain in your mind like it was just yesterday, but if you don’t work to maintain those relationships… As Harvey Mackey puts it in , “Dig your well before you’re thirsty,” you’ll end up with only memories but nothing to draw from in the present.
I’ve often said, and I still believe, “It’s never too late to reconnect with people who matter most.”
But when death happens, and we once again are reminded of how fleeting life can be, we have the chance to think about our life and what we’ll do with it while it remains.
When death happens to others or the fear of death comes to us, we can think about what we want to achieve, who we want to be, or who we want to impact.
We may desire our legacy to be a “somebody,” but in reality, to paraphrase Jim Stovall, our legacy will always be the impact, good or bad, positive or negative that we make on others.
Relationships can be a rich reservoir which we pour into or draw from. But when we neglect people for years and years–even because of normal and natural busyness–we will not be able to draw from them in the future. No matter how great that past season was.
So if you haven’t caught the point of what I’m writing, I want you to make investing in relationships something you never fail to do.
I want you to realize that how you invest in or love people, it is the most long-lasting, legacy-building thing you can do.
No, not everyone is worthy of your time. But I’m sure there are at least 1-2 people from every school, job or season of your life worth staying in touch with.
Most people don’t think this way, but you don’t want to be like most people, right?
Create a great day!