Monday, April 18, 2005
food, friendships, intentionality
I've been eating out a lot recently with friends. After church on Sunday, my youth pastor treated all of last weekend's camp counselors to dimsum, which really hit the spot - it's actually been awhile since I've had some tasty yum cha... the horrors of living in Kent / Renton. I was really hoping to eat some jah leung, but they didn't have any.
At night, a group of us got dressed up(!) and went out to celebrate the Nishimura twin's birthday at Spazzo Italian Grill, a nice place in downtown Bellevue. I had some pretty tasty lamb stew, saffron rice, and chocolate dessert. I'm usually not normally down with dressing up or eating at expensive Italian restaurants, but it was Amy's birthday... I distinctly remembering her coming to my birthday, both here and way back in Japan when we were both in Kansai.
I am a man conscious of my debts.
This past evening, the boys went to an all-you-can-eat Mongolian grill joint to celebrate Mel's birthday. Pretty typical for a man's birthday, I suppose, but despite the fact none of us were dressed up or staring at downtown Bellevue from the 9th floor of a tall building, it was still enjoyable.
I am also a man with a rapidly expanding waistline.
My brain has been marinating a little bit recently on the nature of friendships in both the context of my age (closer to 30 than 20) and in West Coast American life. Amy Nish made a comment during her birthday dinner how it some ways, people who are co-workers or neighbors or friends are a lot closer in Japan than they are here in America. I thought it was a good observation, and my first reaction was to blame life with trains vs. life with cars... but the more I thought about it, I began to think that it also has to do with other things as well.
I suppose I'm realizing now that as people my age grow older, it takes a lot more intentionality to maintain good friendships. When I was younger, I could always count on being able to spend time with friends who were my roommates because I lived with them; I could count on regular contact with friends who were classmates because we had the same classes; I could count on always seeing friends who went to the same college campus groups or church... but it's not like that anymore.
Everyone's older now, and if we're working, we're working at different places. Many of my friends are now married, so understandably, they spend a large majority of their time with their spouses. Other friends have gone to different churches and there's not really any major, regularly-meeting fellowship groups we can attend. To put it simply, the structures that allowed us to spend time together effortlessly don't exist anymore in our lives.
If we want to see each other, it takes a lot more work in terms of figuring out schedules and something to do. Luckily, most everybody is a fan of eating, so time can easily be spent going to a restaurant or having a potluck. Still, there's a common thread to our conversations that there's a feeling that there's a lack of connnectedness in our lives, or maybe to put it more accurately, we don't feel as strongly connected to each other as we were or would like to be. Whether it's just nostalgia or it all relates to a spiritual challenge in our community itself, it's hard to say.
But yeah... it's important to be intentional and make time for your friends. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I think it's important to be loyal and support friends whom you have a shared past with. God's been convicting me a lot lately of taking a more active role in being a good friend to my friends.
hey garrett ... this is alison. i got the link to your blog through jeremy's blogsite and just wanted to say hi!Post a Comment