How much value should we place on relationships?
Relationships aren’t very practical. These past three weeks—as Dan and I have been in the process of moving back into our refurbished house—a lot of people got in the way.
We took a week off from unpacking to camp and fish and kayak with friends—people Dan has known since grade school and high school.
Our youngest Ugandan-born grandson turned 11, so we drove 250 miles round trip to take him to lunch on his birthday.
In these past three weeks, my niece and her husband and their two girls stopped by.
My daughter and SIL and their kids came for a visit.
Dan’s oldest son and DIL and their two kids dropped in for a few days.
And Dan’s daughter and SIL and their toddler spent a couple days with us.
Which meant building railroad tracks for miniature trains, and spectating at our 14-year-old grandson’s golf tournament, and giving kayaking lessons, and getting my nails done by the pre-teen, and taking her shopping.
You may have heard of the plane crash in 1970 that took the lives of 75 people, including the Marshall University football team, coaches, and staff. The movie, We Are Marshall, is based on this true story.
The decision was made to play football the next season, and the new coach needed players. At the time, freshmen weren’t allowed to play varsity ball, so University President Don Dedmon wrote and phoned the NCAA asking for an exception. He was turned down repeatedly.
When Dedmon handed Coach Lengyel the final verdict, the coach responded, “Let me ask you something. Are you married?”
President Dedmon answered with a proud, “Yes, I am. 25 years.”
“I am willing to bet that you didn’t propose over the phone,” countered the coach.
“No, I didn’t.”
Coach: “And I know that she didn’t say Yes in a letter.”
Dedmon got the point. He traveled to Kansas City to make a personal appeal. The in-person connection carried the weight it needed. And Marshall University was allowed to play freshmen that year as it endeavored to rebuild its football program.
Here’s the thing: Instead of driving 250 miles round trip to take our 11-year-old grandson to lunch, we could have sent a gift card. That would have been much more practical.
But love and relationship-building aren’t practical. At all.
A gift card wouldn’t have been the same as sitting there in the shade of the food truck court, eating our salads and sandwiches and ice cream, spending one-on-one time with the birthday boy.
Dan and I could have asked our adult kids to visit at another time. But in our stacks of boxes, we found enough sheets and blankets and towels and kitchenware to make the beds and stock the bathrooms and cook meals.
We could have bowed out of train-track-building, and pre-teen-shopping, and golf-tournament-watching because we were trying to get settled in our home after living in the fifth wheel trailer for six months.
But Dan and I wouldn’t trade the conversations and the laughter and getting to know each other better as we blend two families … for anything.
My very wise husband once said that Friday date nights grow the roots of what started back when we first began dating. “It’s easy to get too busy in life,” he observed. “We need to stop and focus on each other.”
I think it’s the same with all our relationships. Not a one-time stop and focus on each other, but an ongoing stopping and focusing, regularly acknowledging how important these people are in our lives—via in-person conversations and hugs and laughter and playing together.
This thought from Brené Brown, professor and author:
We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.
I’ve often said that the people in our lives are our most important assets. And now there are more people in my life—in the form of a new husband and his family and friends—to add to my wealth.