There are many ways a procrastinator falls prey to The Creep – a situation that worsens over time because of neglect. We can have mildew in the shower, weeds in the garden, bills yet to pay. Most of these inflict some painful inconvenience. We don’t want to do the job, but we want it to be done.
Lately I’ve been thinking about “Creep” in relationships. Neglect creeps in.
We want to maintain relationships. To maintain is “to cause or enable to continue, provide necessities for life or existence.” Its root means “to hold in the hand.” If we don’t maintain friendships, they can slip through our fingers.
What necessities must we provide to continue relationships? Primarily, time together.
It’s easy to procrastinate when it comes to contacting people. We want to have time to talk. We want to reach them when it’s a good time on their end. If we don’t have time for a full conversation, we wait until a “better time.” If we need to write, it seems even harder. We have to find the time, the words, the stationery. (Really?)
When neglect creeps into a friendship, drift takes over. We move apart.
Something is better than nothing. Even a two minute conversation communicates care and encouragement. Even two or three written lines demonstrate loving interest.
Sometimes there are rare friendships that survive neglect. “We just picked up where we left off ten years ago.” Imagine the richness if conversation were maintained.
The busier we are, the more prone we are to drop meeting with a friend. It can even feel out of our hands. The busier we are, the more we might need that coffee together – the laughs, sharing, counsel, prayer.
We read that people are more “connected” today but far lonelier. I’m delighted to get a text, a picture, or an email, yet nothing takes the place of face to face. When we’re separated by distance, nothing takes the place of hearing my loved one’s voice.
My husband and I recently visited one of my brothers and his wife – the first time in all these years that the four of us have been together without a crowd. How nice to eat breakfast, go for walks, and talk just as a foursome. We’ve deepened our relationship. My girl cousins and I make it a habit to gather when I’m in town. We’ve gotten to know each other as adults. Conscious nurturing.
Even with local friends, it’s necessary to set dates so that we actually stay in each other’s lives. I rarely get to see friends who live elsewhere, but we have monthly appointments to visit by phone. I treasure those chats.
Our relationship with the Lord can also suffer from creeping neglect. Time with Him, too, must be actively sought and guarded. Otherwise, we (not He) drift away from the sweet closeness we desire.
Any friendship we value requires nurturing. Otherwise, creeping neglect leads to drifting.
Which friendship will you nurture this week?