A few years ago, I packed my bags, and they landed a couple states away from my origin. Through an intense rainstorm, stretches of desert, and the unknowns of where we would sleep, I had my sister by my side. In time, however, the most natural thing happened. My sister went back home, and I was on my own for the first time. Suddenly, communication was no longer a given. It required significant effort to keep in touch. For an expressive and spontaneous person such as me, this was a challenge. Quantity time was sparse, and quality time required intentionality.
Living away from family and friends is a challenge to be sure, but I have discovered that it can also be wildly fun! To hone in on my newfound abilities, I even dated someone on a different continent. I appreciate a good challenge and enjoyed rediscovering the art of writing letters and sending trinkets that communicated thoughtfulness instead of mere practicality.
I have many a good friend sprinkled throughout the globe, but the biggest thing I have learned is this: In order to grow, friendships take some time and thought.
With the holidays coming up and birthdays that seem to occupy one day a week, I am developing a rather large and obnoxious crush on intentionality. Anything worth doing takes time, and people are worth that! Sure, I could easily write on someone’s “wall,” tag someone in an Instagram photo, or repin their fabulous taste in décor on Pinterest, but without a true heart connection, it doesn’t mean very much. I might not be able to be the best of friends with everyone on the planet, but I want my closest friends to know that they matter through my actions instead of just my words on a screen.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to receive a letter from your honey or your best friend instead of a text? Wouldn’t it be delightful to get a phone call instead of an email? On the one hand, I appreciate the easy access of social media and text messages, but it is no surprise that this access has cheapened communication. Didn’t the same thing happen with the oversexualization of society? True intimacy and connection are developed over time and sustained by intentionality. If everyone is equally important and gets to see every aspect of your life, then where is the surprise and mystery? How will someone begin to win your heart when it is worn on your status and divided in numerous directions? There is something precious about communication that I have a deep desire to nurture and protect. It is a tool that has the ability to put meaning to actions. Without the actions, however, it is just noise.
If you want someone to know that they matter, then I encourage you to take some extra thought when you reach out. Love is practical, but it is also outlandish. If you want someone to value you and the unique things that you carry as an individual, then I implore you to cultivate meaningful relationships and consider how valuable something is when it isn’t easily accessible. Your heart is valuable, and it is worth being treasured. Learning this first will help you extend the same care and thought to the people around you.