Longevity in relationship is important.
I have the joy and privilege of being in touch with friends that I made in elementary school, high school and university. I am still connected to people in the church that I was born into (Bethel Bible Church in Kingston), and the church in which I grew up (Ferndale Bible Church in Peterborough). I have family friends that I held when they were as young as three hours old, and are now adults. I am also deeply privileged to have a network of family members who have known me my whole life, or I’ve known them their whole lives. I do not take this for granted.
While many of these relationships look very different from the times when we were in close geographical proximity, shared history matters. Stories from “back in the day” are told and retold, and those memories matter.
Memory-making and long-term relationship building are big parts of what we do at The Dale. To be a community, to be a family, is to have shared stories. It’s important for us to be able to say “remember that time, when we had a picnic by the lake on a perfect summer day? When someone spilled olive oil all over the floor at drop in? When we went caroling and Mark yelled “Ho, Ho, Ho” during every single pause between, and within, songs? When people from all over the city came for Will’s funeral?” Having a shared history means that we have a narrative into which we can welcome new community members/characters in the story.
As this New Year begins, I look forward to maintaining existing friendships, and nurturing new ones. As the song goes, “make new friends, and keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”
Such beauty, and such riches.