Yesterday during church, the person preaching talked about life in Minnesota, our time and the fences that we have in our lives.
This was not a "wow, that blew my mind" type of sermon but had lots of great points in it that I did appreciate. My mind can't always handle the in-depth type of sermons that you sometimes hear on a Sunday.
This pastor talked about how here in Minnesota we have our winter months...as do many other states. In these months that are cold we go from our house to the garage to our destination and then back to the garage and into the house. Unless you are a day care provider, you don't spend much time outside on purpose in the winter :) So, we miss building relationships with people during the cold months.
There are also many backyards that are fenced in. Ours in not but we have many neighbors that do have fences...some for their children, others for their animals. On one side of our house we have backyards that are open for quite a bit because no one has a fence. The other side has a fence. The person that lives in the house with the fence...we don't have as good of a relationship with. The side that is open, their child plays here or our kids play at their house pretty much any time that our families are home. I know that the actual fences in our yard are not the only fences that we have in our lives. I talk a lot at Teen MOPS about the walls that are up in some of the lives of the teens that we see. Everyone has a wall or fence of some sort and as we get more comfortable with people those walls start to come down brick by brick.
We also have a time constraint. Building relationships with people takes time. How much time will we take to nurture a new friendship or just to give someone a call, just because.
When we moved into our neighborhood we had a neighbor that told us...almost in these exact words..."we would love to be your friends but we already have too many and don't have time for the friends we have." Besides the fact that this was just downright rude to say to someone I did understand their concept. Time is valuable and they weren't even able to give the time that they had now to the people that we were already friends with. We never asked to be their friends...well, do you really go up to an adult and say, "Can I be your friend?" Friendships just sort of happen but they happen because of the time taken to build and strengthen that friendship. Amazingly and to my shock, we have grown a little closer to this family. We've had talks around a fire pit a few times, lots of chats in the front yards and even some work done for each other.
Instead of telling someone that you don't have time to be their friend, I think just showing them kind actions and kind words would still be fine...without uttering those words or making them check some box...will you be my friend? Check "yes" or "no".