To my friends who are blessed to be relationally wealthy—who are seen, known, nurtured, and have a place where they belong.
To those who have loyal and dependable friends, who can text any number of girls for a fun night out. To those who have lived in the same place for a long time and have had the luxury of time to do life with the same people, learning how to love well and be loved well. To those who are relationally content and are happy with their communities and neighbors. To those who go on double dates and have a house full of people on Saturday nights and laugh over firepits and BBQs with friends in the summer.
To my friends who post the most gorgeous pictures of you with your friends on social media. Who show us the beauty of community and friendship in your posts and pictures of children learning to do life together, camping trips with your buddies, road trips with the girls. To those of you who have holiday traditions with friends and family and whose Christmas breaks spent with loved ones sound like something out of the movies. To those of you who have friends who make you belly laugh until you cry. To those of you who remind us that beauty can exist in relationship and people can indeed love well, reflecting God’s love for us.
To my friends who know the comfort of a nurturing mother and the protection of a caring father, who have family in town, someone to watch your littles so you can go to the dentist or steal away for a night out (or night away!) with your spouse, who look forward to a full table at Thanksgiving and who can rest in the security of your family to have your back when you need their help. Whose children have grandparents and aunts and uncles to delight in them and celebrate them. Who have someone to call for help when they are having a baby or have the stomach flu.
To my friends who know and understand and experience relational safety. Who have friends who protect them, believe them, believe in them, cheer them on. Who have someone they can call on a tough day, who have a shoulder to cry on when life is hard, who have someone who will sit with them during chemo and rub their feet when the nausea comes. To those of you who have people living and speaking the gospel to them, countering the lies and shame of the world, who don’t have to fear rejection because there is a place they are always accepted. To those of you who live in the safety of good community…
Please don’t forget the relationally broken.
Please don’t overlook the hurting. Please don’t walk by the awkward person standing alone at church or the single mom trying to manage her kiddos in the pew—you might make their day by saying hello. By communicating, I have noticed you—you are seen. You matter. You are important in this place. Please don’t forget the singles who wonder what their holiday plans will be and whether they’ll be included in anyone’s joyful celebrations. Consider asking them to join you and allowing your family to enjoy the benefit of their company and life experience. Consider communicating to them, You are valuable to us and you don’t need a spouse to be our friend; you have so much to offer, and you are a blessing to us. Please don’t disregard the new mama at school who doesn’t quite fit in and who doesn’t quite look like everyone else—she might be the perfect addition to your group of friends. And please don’t overlook the woman who has no children because you aren’t sure how to relate to her; who knows her struggles, who knows her pain? Maybe you can make a difference in her life by a simple invitation to coffee.
Please don’t assume that a smile equals happiness. Please take the time and effort (and I know it’s effort!) to include someone into your community, inviting them to a gathering. To ask their story, find out who they are, let them know they are worth knowing. Please don’t judge a book by its cover—maybe that stylish woman at church has no friends or maybe she is so busy serving others that she has no one to confide in. Maybe the leaders at your church feel left out and wish they were pursued every once in a while, instead of being the ones always pursuing. Would you consider reaching out to someone and communicating, We are glad you here and glad that you are a part of our community.
To my friends who know how to do community well, who experience love and safety as a part of their everyday lives, who are relationally wealthy—please be inclusive. Please be gatherers. Please take time to listen to others’ stories and pursue the unlovable and messy and loners. Please draw from your wealth and share with the relationally hurting.
We are grateful for you and the relational gifts God has given you and how you are weaving God’s redemption into this world through love and relationship. Please share with us! Please show us what the hard work of relationship looks like. We need your love, we need your guidance, we need your smiles, we need your help.
Would you consider creating a safe place for those who don’t have one?