“Society is commonly too cheap. We meet at very short intervals, not having had time to acquire any new value for each other. We meet at meals three times a day, and give each other a new taste of that old musty cheese that we are……certainly less frequency would suffice for all important and hearty communications…”
from his essay on solitude Thoreau
“I missed you” my wife told me this morning.
Music to my ears.
She just got back from spending 3 days with a good friend who is grieving the loss of her son.
Things have been a little tense (stale?) around here, lately so I chuckled and and mumbled something about being “good fresh cheese/ and not stale musty cheese”
There is a rhythm to relationships…
friendships, family relationships, even Internet blogging relationships…
reminds me of this verse from Ecclesiastes: “There is a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing…”
I (had) a friend who used to stop by to chat.
He would stop by on Sunday afternoons.
I noticed I started to get this knot/ uptight feeling in my gut Sunday afternoons.
I would feel a nap coming on, and think….hummm, it’s been 3 or 4 weeks since my friend had last stopped…I wonder if today he’ll pop in….
These would not be 30 minute visits, they would last for a couple of hours.
Things finally came to a head.
One Sunday, we were getting ready to leave for a birthday party…Wife and I were scurrying around, I still needed to shave…
This friend pulls into the driveway, I meet him at the door, he steps into the kitchen, I say to him...’Today’s probably not a good day for a visit…I need to get ready for a party,”
he replies…“Go ahead and get ready…”
he continues to stand there, looking like he has no intention of leaving….
It ticked me off. Can’t remember what I said after that, but it took some additional coaxing for me to help him connect the dots, that now was not going to work, and he would have to leave…
We have another friend, whom we see 3 or 4 times a year….tops
We’ve been known to close down a Starbucks on more than one occasion…reminds me of those days when I would sit for hours engrossed in a deep conversation with someone on a Saturday night in a bar….it would feel like we were in a bubble, and the people and noise all around us were not really there.
As I thought about this second friendship and the frequency of our getting together’s , I said to the friend who had a hard time connecting the dots when it came time to leave
.“I would prefer we just together every 6 to 8 weeks..”
(My thought was, in this other friendship, which I dearly enjoy, we can go 8 to 12 weeks between visits, then getting together only every 6 to 8 seems more balanced with the rest of my life)
He took it well enough I thought at the time…. I said maybe we could do a little more communicating via e-mail…
(side note : I have not seen or heard from him again, as of this writing it’s been about 30 weeks.. ..I’ve called, e-mailed and sent him a note, oh well, )
What I was experiencing in this relationship is not uncommon…. it is part of being human.
When the knot in my stomach would start and I would have these thoughts about not being a “good friend”. this verse would pop into my head:
“Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house, lest he have his fill of you and hate you.” from the book of Proverbs 25:17
yep, that pretty much summed up what I was feeling…
(boy am I on a roll this week..two verses in one blog post )
So here’s to all of us who enjoy interacting with people…
Sometimes less is better.
Even in the world of cheese…it’s all about timing.
ps if you’re ever looking for a gift ideas for me… I love swiss cheese DM