Some people have a “word” that characterizes their focus for the upcoming year. I do not have a single word. I have never really had a single word. Maybe one day, I will. So far, I have found it difficult to narrow down to a single word, no matter how much that single word may encompass. For some people, the word seems to choose them–and the reasons for that become clear to them later. I do not have a word that has come to me, but then again, I was not really seeking.
I tend to see a few different areas that could be a focus; indeed, many. One particular area of focus for me this year, however, is this: friendship. Friendship for myself–and also for my kids, who have also expressed similar sentiments.
I feel the pain of loneliness and lack of community in my life. My kids have their stories and have the same longings. Community and friendship feel fractured in my life.
I am immensely grateful for the friends I do have, but there is still something more that needs to be. More intentionality. A sense of community. I can’t say I haven’t tried, but I can say I could try much harder. I can be more intentional. I can choose to do and be what I personally long to have. I can do *and be* more of who I need to be.
We live in an age so well-connected technologically, but lonelier than ever.
Why, when logically speaking, it should not be the case? Don’t we have FaceTime? Skype? WhatsApp? And everything else? We have more ways and methods of staying connected than ever before. But, there are reasons for the disconnectivity.
For starters, in the U.S., we live individualistic lives. This country, in particular, values independence and self-sufficiency.
Moreover, we are busy, busy, busy, and…I just hate that word sometimes. We do have choices, and this is what many of us choose. Busyness signifies importance, and we want to feel important and valued. With our culture placing value and pressure to do more, I understand it is hard to prioritize and chisel down our activities. Yet for many of us, we can make different choices and choose to be less busy. Being less busy opens the door for intentional time spent with others. It creates margin, extra space to say “yes” to meaningful communication and friendship. It allows space for different priorities.
Furthermore, we enjoy a fairly high standard of living in the U.S., and that makes our lives a little more solitary as we can surround ourselves with more “things”. These “things” may even produce short-term fulfillment, which of course, is fleeting, temporary, shallow, and do not bring any sense of belonging or true fulfillment whatsoever. But the holes of our lives get covered up and hidden behind the material, and by outside things (and busyness). We are not as aware or recognize the deeper need we have for connection with others, or we try to fill it with more material goods which seem to promise some level of happiness.
One theme for the coming year, then, is for friendship–real, intentional friendship with people who care and who want the same thing. It’s a good thing, not the only thing for the year, but an important one. I’ll share another theme for the year in an upcoming post soon.
What about you? Do have a word, or a theme, or resolutions, or some sort of self-evaluation or introspection practice? I’d love to know more about you and what you do.