How often do you pause to connect-the-dots of your life?
The cordless receiver clicked into its cradle. One more time ‘Ma Bell magic’ allowed a dot to plot its mark, grid-like for connecting, on my memory.
A dear friend called from California. He received our belated Christmas greetings with a poem I wrote about missing Mom. We chatted for a lengthy spell. He is someone I may never see again this side of heaven. Yet as we rounded out moments together, both my joy and thankfulness increased.
Topics of faith, family, and friendship wove colors through our conversation, threading memory of what was to the truth of what is, foreshadowing the joy of what will be. He spoke specifically of stories, his experiences of life, and desire to record them despite the weariness of age which challenges that plan.
When you live a long life – or any life at all – the impact, or ‘dots’ you make on the lives of those around you have such purpose. Yet without attention they too often pass into webs that tangle and fade with time.
Unless we keep connections strong.
“Remembering the Dots” and Having Energy Helps
Recognizing available space is a help in developing the habit of remembrance. Snatch moments of respite in tiny batches at first (from between busyness if you must). Focus on one relationship dot at at time, whether old or new. This creates solid connections, easier to maintain.
A few ideas to foster “remembering the dots”:
- Make a list of people you most want (or need) to contact
- Add each person on the list into your calendar on a specific date
- Put a post-it with his/her name on your mirror to see it first & last thing
- Follow through – write, call, or visit – on assigned date
- Focus on one person (or family) each day
- Make, renew, or strengthen a connection every day
Do what you can, the moment you recognize an opportunity to connect, without hesitation. This increases odds of success. Maybe you’ve heard stories about people who waited too long (to write, call, or visit) and regretted it. Believe me, this ‘Class A procrastinator’ gets that (has done that). I’m also tired of using ‘I’m too tired’ as an excuse.
Experiment to discover what motivates and creates energy for you so you can follow through.
A few ideas to increase relational energy:
- Do the most difficult thing first, making all that follows seem simpler
- Flip that; do the easiest thing first; experience success to motivate for more difficult tasks
- Drop the practice of beating yourself up for missed opportunities
- Take care of yourself; spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally
- Identify and frequent people & places that bring you lasting joy
- Give of yourself daily (time, talent & treasure) – it’s rejuvenating
Connecting-the-Dots on a Mild Winter’s Day
One spot…two…with thread of life between;
a man and wife, or parent/child
relationships of color, creed or cause
Give pause, before your breaths are done;
one…at a time…amazed
with marks of knowing
on a field of being known
Own your part of keeping strong
each bond of love;
until your weave is run
Moving into another calendar year creates opportunity for making new marks and revisiting old ones – dotted, connected, or otherwise. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how best to connect-the-dots, and keep the threads of relationship strong.