I can't say I have a large circle of friends, or that I'm the life of the party when it comes to entertaining, but I am lucky (blessed, even) to have a few nice (I mean really nice) friends with whom I can enjoy a good meal and some encouraging conversation.
About this time of year, marketing departments and educators alike are in "back-to-school" mode, which in the past for me meant planning, supply shopping and mentally preparing for a new crop of students and classes. However, this year is different. I'm not doing all those things, because I'm not going back to teaching. My health condition has brought that chapter of my life to a close, but it has also brought renewed perspective on how important it is to cultivate and maintain friendships.
So rather than be caught up with the negative aspects of this change in direction (I can't make school schedules anymore!), I have decided to take advantage of all the beautiful time that has been given to me by making lunch dates. In the last eleven days, I've visited and eaten with six wonderful people who have filled me with laughter and made my days richer. I can't help but wonder if I would have reached out like this had I been stressing about a new school year.... I don't think so. The freedom I feel from that stress is amazing!
Which makes me wonder... what if everyone were able to feel this free? Not beholden to a tight calendar or a demanding job, but rather, able to make decisions based on their own human needs for community and love. Then I look at this picture I snapped while finishing my lunch today and wonder, maybe some of these patrons are doing just that -- making time for beautiful friendships in the midst of our busy world. I hope so.