Thursday, September 16, 2010


As we settle slowly into our newest version of life, I'm being reminded in bits and pieces how long it takes to be at home. For instance, there is no such thing as FIND A GREAT FRIEND NOW! It will take many chats at school, visits to the playground, dinners with church families, conversations over the bushes with the neighbors before we have any great friends. I came across this little story as I was reading last night, and it really helped put things into perspective for me.

It's from Stones for Schools by Greg Mortenson (sequel to Three Cups of Tea), about a man building schools in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"In Chunda, a conservative rural village in Baltistan, it took eight years for us to convince the local mullah, an immensely cautious and pious man, to permit a single girl to attend school. Today, however, more than three hundred girls study in Chunda--and we take great pride in the fact that they do so with the full support of the very same mullah who once stood in their way. His change of heart affirms the notion that good relationships often demand titanic patience... As any wise village elder will tell you, anything truly important is worth doing very, very slowly."

Eight years?! Three hundred girls, with the mullah on board?! Very, very slowly? (I don't do much of anything that slowly.) Wow.

Good relationships are incredibly important to me. Being in a new place reminds me of that. I want them with new friends here, I want them with my old friends, I want them with my extended family, I want them with my husband and kids. Am I willing to wait? This man Greg was, and the outcome for an entire village and its girls is amazing to me.

This story made me realize that I don't really take the "eight year plan" or the "1000 cups of tea" plan when I think about good relationships. I hope for and expect GREAT BIG MOMENTS, deep and meaningful talks, laughs, tears. I feel disappointed and discouraged, like the relationship isn't going anywhere when those big moments (nearly always) fail to happen. But that's a totally warped perspective.

In reality, every bit of conversation, every sip of shared hot chocolate, every step walked together adds a layer to what can be a good relationship. Love is patient, I'm reminded. Patience is a perspective too, I think, often improved with age.

If good relationships are really important to me, then I guess I might as well demonstrate that by going about them very, very slowly. Love in action will simply be a thousand or million small moments shared with those around me.

Time for tea, kids!

I'm curious what you've learned about patience - have you experienced a relationship or event that you are so glad you worked at and waited for? How long have you been investing in time with someone? Will you inspire me?!

1 comment:

Jenn said...

oh JO!!! i wish i could just give you one big hug!!!!!!!!!!!! since im not close, you can just imagine it! :) did you feel it?! :)

girl!! i have felt your pain over and over. im not gonna lie. its difficult. and you are so right. it takes time.
but..............they will come! :) hang in there. like you said, be patient and be willing to take them as they come and also, maybe this is just for me but, i have to be willing to be just as vulnerable as i am asking them to do in becoming friends ( was that confusing). if i need something i really just have to ask and put myself out there even more, if i want a play date i need to maybe approach them first. dude!! its painful sticking your neck out there.

i look at the friends i have at the moment in my little neighborhood and i just laugh at how it all happened. Some of them i would not have chosen. some of them are twice my age. some of them i really wonder what we have in common but in the end they are all my friends!
You may not find your next bff right next door to you, but as you hang in there you will be so pleasantly surprised.

I dont have many friends and sometimes it is literally exhausting and it takes time to let someone in and vice versa but you will get there!!!

im praying for you and lots of love to you!

oh one more thing, one of my mommy friends just told me about these things called, 'mommy cards.' yeah, i know i was like, 'say what?!'
but, its basically like little business cards that you can either make or buy. When you meet someone you wanna hang with or make a future play date with you can hand it to them so they have all your info.

i have never tried it but i might and it sounds like a great idea!
good luck! :)