The older I get, the more I realize that life is not about buying crap, or wielding power, or being awesome cool, or insanely good looking (those last two I happen to be, but again that’s not what life is about). It’s really about relationships and this weekend really cemented that for me, as well as a post I saw this morning on a friend’s facebook page.
I think it’s interesting how much we’re influenced by our upbringing. Anyone who thinks you can just grow up and be your own person regardless of how you were raised is full of crap. I mean, I think you can, but it takes self examination and effort. If you don’t work at it, you are destined to become your parents. Case in point, growing up my family never had company over, and the few times we did, us kids pretty much had to stay in our bedrooms. In addition, I don’t even think my parents had any real friends. I mean, they had plenty of acquaintances, but considering how rarely I ever saw my mom and dad socializing with people, I don’t think they have any really deep relationships.
And so I think as I grew up, I just naturally fell into that same mode. And I know this because whenever I watch one of those home improvement shows where people say they “love to entertain”, I ask myself, who lives like that…entertaining all the time like movie stars or something? And when guys talk about having mentors and stuff, it just seems so foreign to me. In my family, outside relationships mean weakness, we rely on nobody.
I bring this up because as I’ve spent time at church both with other guys like me and with truly Godly men, I’ve become acutely aware of my attitude toward relationships and how damaging that is. I’ve become aware of how much I’ve missed out on. After all, God didn’t make us to stand on our own two feet and be completely self sufficient. He created us to live in a deep relationship with him, and also with each other. “Love others as you love yourself” Jesus said. That’s a high calling for a lot of us. I know it is for me.
Anyway, how does this relate to this weekend you ask? Because this weekend was spent spending time with others. We spent Friday night hosting a get together and had about a dozen friends over. It was a great time hanging out with great people. Saturday and Sunday I spent at church, playing drums with other fantastic musicians and getting to know our worship leader’s dad who had come up to visit for the weekend and sat in with us. So just spending so much time with quality people really made me feel blessed.
Then on Monday, Michelle and I rode up to Bass Lake and on the way back we broke down. And what happened next was really cool. People stopped to help. An old guy stopped to check on us and said he had a shop if we needed any tools. I had everything I needed so I thanked him and he headed on. Then a CHP stopped to see if we were OK. Then another biker stopped to check on us. And then a guy in a junky car named Chris stopped to check on us as well. 4 people within an hour.
Now the bike was dead and I had to get it back to Fresno but a tow was going to cost several hundred dollars. Michelle suggested I call my buddy Kirk because he has a bike trailer and I hesitated for a second. I can’t ask somebody to drive an hour to come get me and my motorcycle, especially somebody who I’m not super close to. But I did anyway, and you know what? Kirk dropped what he was doing and drove up to pick us and bike up. And Chris, who had stopped for us, waited with us for an hour because he knew we’d need his help pushing the bike onto the truck.
To me, that’s unreal. And so I had to ask myself…. how many people have I passed on the road without so much as a glance? And would I drop my plans and drive my truck an hour up the mountain (with gas costing $4 a gallon) to go pick an acquaintance up who had broken down? Am I that good of a person? I don’t know. I hope so.
And so the point of all this is that relationships are everything. We need good people in our lives and we need to be more than just acquaintances. So my personal goal is to spend as much time as I can fostering these existing relationships and creating new ones.