REmember: Prioritizing People
The glorious ivy-covered brick echoed back my own laughter and tears from four years within its domain. Windows I had climbed out, dining halls I had frequented, and photo opp stair steps seemed to remember me. Though progress and buildings had come to the campus, it seemed to smile upon former fledglings of its earlier days.
Walking around the sunlit paths surrounded by familiar voices and picturesque buildings and lawns, I was washed with gratitude. More than ever before, I saw the intent and sacrifice of my parents to send me there. To provide for me something I would never forget: the rigor of applying myself more intensely than ever before and to become exposed to expansive and interesting thought and approaches. To learn how to learn. Their love and desire for my best spoke poignantly to me two decades later. And friendships that have lasted two decades were born in those halls.
As I reflected on this sense of belonging and happiness, I began to think about these last few months. As the year dawned, I wondered what was next.
The one thing I sensed for this year was that I was supposed to rekindle old friendships and make more room for the deepening of relationships.
(As a homeschooling mom who runs two businesses, I have not always taken consistent time to fill the relational fuel tank.)
With this mandate for this season, I went about being more mindful of who I was supposed to invest time into and with. As coffee dates began to populate onto my calendar, I reengaged in many stories. My collegiate reunion was part of this journey. I began to see afresh the need for connection everywhere, and in EVERY ONE.
We are all members of one family, after all. We are members of the most significant group – society itself. A member is a person who’s a part of a community. What would happen if we just began to REmember? To member-up! To re-connect because we are all in this together.
I’m not suggesting rejoining groups you abandoned due to lack of fruitfulness. Or reconnecting with people who are complaining and draining.
But let’s survey the landscape of our lives and become mindful of the connections that we’ve been given from the beginning till now…
What people from phases of our life contributed to who we are today?
Are there relationships we’ve formed along the way – or even family – who we’ve unintentionally drifted from over the years?
Is there someone you admire but you’ve never told?
Are there parents or teachers or friends we need to thank?
Could there be hurt feelings we can remedy?
The way that I’ve managed this REmembering process is simple and organic. (Maybe it will work for you. But if it doesn’t, do what DOES work for you; I encourage you to bring others back into the fold of your life.)
As part of my exodus from obligatory, high speed living, in recent years I’ve kept a list (in the margin of my To Do list). On this list are folks who’ve asked to get together with us, or people who’ve been on my heart, or those we’ve casually agreed “we should get together.” Why did I put my people-to-reach on my to do list? Well, many times a day I’m looking at my task list. I figured that was the best place to keep priorities I want to keep in my radar, and what priority is more important than people?
This list became part of my recovery from a pretty singular and insular focus on work and immediate family. Over the years, I became – at times – so focused on accomplishing things that I had forgotten the pleasure of knowing and being known.
So I began my REmembering with The People List. I added in some people who came to mind at the advent of the year, and really started paying fresh attention to my “member” list – folks who’d been a part of my journey at some point.
I simply look at The People List every so often and wait for a name to “emerge.”
I am not on a frantic quest to “win friends and influence people” nor am I into collecting.
I am So. Over. Networking.
I have simply become mindful about remembering.
Then, I reach out with a call or text or email. Sometimes that’s all that’s needed. No get-together required. Just letting someone know I’m thinking about them or appreciate them or inquiring about their lives – instead of barreling through my day on high speed.
As far as getting together, I began to treat my People List as important appointments, looking ahead at my calendar and finding slots where I could carve time out, rather than waiting for an ideal time to present itself “after work” or “on the weekends.”
(Along the way and as my list grew, I resolved to quit saying “we should get together sometime” if I didn’t mean it.)
For each effort of intentionality, I have been rewarded with a reminder of where I’ve been, who I am and what I’m here to do.
I try not to let my schedule get onerously full anymore. (Having said that, I know pretty much what I’m doing for the next three months). But I try to leave margin for impromptu backyard bonfires, tea every few days with my mom, countertop chats with my employees, and a slot here and there for my People List.
And when I start to feel it’s too much, I just back off for a while, and deepen what I’ve been given.
I don’t rush around anymore worrying that I’m missing something, or someone.
When a certain someone comes to mind, they’re promoted to the top of the List, and I reach out. That’s it.
And when a new or reactivated connection comes on the scene and I feel led to put them on The List, there they go until the time is ripe.
I’ve found that when you act on what you sense and the proper timing for each connection, you are simply responding to what’s already been established. So there isn’t striving anymore.
In this way, I keep on my radar the wonderful members of the human family that have been brought into my life.
And through my intentional tuning-in, I discovered the Love Channel of heaven!
When we remember one another, when we reach out, when we act on our instincts to care, when we know and are known in love, we are being the Family!
You belong and you matter to us. Thank you for being a part of our Restoring Order family!
Here’s to prioritizing people and REmembering what they’ve added to your life!