“How About Never – Does Never Work For You?”

One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons is of a guy looking at his calendar and the quote has him saying, “No, Thursdays out. How about never – is never good for you?”

It’s funny because it’s true. I often think of this cartoon when I’m feeling frustrated trying to coordinate a meeting/a play date/a phone call with someone and our schedules aren’t working out. The level of difficulty and strategy involved begins to feel like we’re trying to change the cosmos. A phone call really shouldn’t be so difficult. It starts to feel like “how about never – is never good for you?”

Generally I accept the busyness of life, both in my life and with others. We’re all on the go, taking care of business, trying to juggle the demands of life. I get that. Yet lately, I’ve had a nagging feeling that things are not quite right with our busyness.

I’ve been meaning to get together with friends for a play date for weeks but it doesn’t happen. Friends call and I can’t find the time to call them back. We go weeks without talking to family. I’ve been eager to join a book club but can’t make it to the meetings. And when I do have the time, I’m too tired. I know I’m not alone in this struggle. I hear others venting about the same frustration. I used to consider all of this normal but now I’m wondering if we’re missing the point sometimes.

We all know how good it feels to spend time with a friend, get an email update or have an unhurried conversation on the phone with someone we love. In fact, studies state that one of the major contributing factors to our happiness is the quality of our relationships. If that’s the case, we can’t let the demands of daily life get in the way of making time for relationships. Otherwise, we miss a blessing.

We’ve been reading the Bible book of Acts corporately with our church and I’m reminded of how the early church lived life together.

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

“All the believers were together and had everything in common.”

“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts…”

I love these descriptions. I want to live these descriptions.

I wonder if John and Peter had to sync their calendars with “breaking of bread” appointments in order to make this happen? I wonder if Mary and Martha were busy rushing kids off to soccer practice? I sure don’t feel an underlying harried rush in these verses. Obviously there were obstacles to their meetings, but these verses convey a natural relationship-orientation I feel might be missing from our modern lives.

Honestly, I don’t know the exact answer to this dilemma. I’m still figuring out how to be a more balanced person. But, more and more, I feel like I have to fight for the things that truly matter for me. And people matter to me.

Let’s not be “how about never” people.

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