The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

The Art of Being August 13, 2010

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 1:40 pm
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It’s been a while since I’ve actually sat down and written something for this blog. (Sorry to Ashley and Michelle for not keeping up my end of the bargain.) Mostly, it’s because I haven’t made the time, but partly it’s because I’ve been away appreciating the church family camp I’ve gone to since before I was born.

One of the many things that Brown City Camp taught me growing up is what I like to call the “art of being.” It came from my childhood when we would spend a full week and a half with family, having nowhere to escape but to the playground and the (non-disgusting) lagoon. It came from when I was in the youth spending long afternoons filled with nothing but card games and conversations under the big oak(?) tree in the middle of the youth area. That later extended into late-night conversations about the most obscure things in friends’ trailers.

There has always been something about just “being” with friends that I have always enjoyed. Once in a great while, I’ll just shut up and sit back and enjoy the company. If there’s a large enough group, this can go on for some time. I love occasionally stepping back and looking in from the outside at my friends enjoying each other.

I never really understood the concept until college. I participated in it occasionally in high school, but it never really clicked until college. I would be over at a friend’s dorm for a get-together of some sort, and there would be no other purpose to our being there other than to be together. It was a wonderful feeling! Sometimes food would show up, and other times we would just sit and talk for hours on end. It didn’t matter. We were together.

Now, there are rare moments when I can truly appreciate just “being” with people I enjoy. As you go out in the “real world,”  there must always be a purpose to your meetings, and people feel like time together, unless spent “productively”, is a waste. I beg to differ. There is something very productive about building those relationships that you can’t do while you’ve got a specific goal in mind when it comes to your time together. You only see one part of that person, and you miss out on a whole lot more.

What do you think? Is there something beneficial to just enjoying the presence of the people around you?


The Follow-Through June 25, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 8:43 am
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One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone says that they’re going to do something, and then there is no follow-through. I take people at their word, and I expect them to take me at mine.

The worst part of this, I think, is when I find myself doing exactly what I hate most. (Romans 7, anyone?) It’s an awful cycle. I’ll give you an example:

Sunday nights I generally reserve for watching the children at my parents’ small group. There are usually two kids I spend time with, occasionally three. We have a lot of fun playing in the backyard on the swings or in the basement with blocks.

But early last month, I had a Sunday afternoon bridal shower to attend. I had figured in the length of time that the shower would take, but I had forgotten that there would be about an hour drive in each direction, not to mention time I’d spend after the shower talking with friends from high school. By the time that we were on our way back home, I was already late, so I canceled on them.

The kids were devastated, and the small group didn’t accomplish near what they normally do due to my absence.

My guilt drove me nuts that next week. At first, I felt awful that I’d told the parents (and the kids) that I would be there later that evening and wasn’t. Then, after realizing that I complain most when people do this to me, a new wave of guilt washed over me as I began to see myself as this horrible hypocrite.

I’ve found that I guilt others in the same horrible way. If someone promises me something, I expect it. I take people at their word. If it doesn’t happen, if there’s no follow-through, I become angry and unforgiving. I don’t leave room to consider for miscalculations like the one I had or for confusion or a just plain change of the mind. You would think I would be more understanding, but that’s not usually the case.

This recently happened with a friend of mine. I’m trying to decide if I should just let it go or if I should stop trusting this person. I watch as just about everything this person says to me falls through, and then this friend wants to shrug it off as if nothing happened.

So, the question is, is it time to no longer believe anything this person says anymore? Or do I forgive and pretend as if nothing happened?