“I often tell people to lean into relationships that are replenishing for them.” Jim Burns
Life is exhausting. Even in Covid quarantine. Maybe, especially in Covid quarantine.
Daily we easily find ourselves utterly drained by people, personal circumstances, and national chaos, leaving us “running on empty.” We are hungry. The OT prophet says, “In that day the people will be so hungry, they won’t even know what they are hungry for.”
An Unknown Hunger
Are we in a “day” like that today? History is filled with such days. But for us, today in the U.S., I believe we are a desperately hungry people. And, although we all hunger for peace, both internal and external, I fear that we aren’t sure exactly what we are hungry for.
To me, what we are facing are “matters of the soul,” which can only be satiated by food for the soul. But such potent matters as these are not easily gratified, certainly not by money or new possessions.
What Do You Have in the Emotional Pantry?
Among the many emergency foods stored away in our emotional pantries (like music, journals, meditation, exercise and good health) we find a tiny and too often underutilized ration of replenishing relationships. And this ration feeds us not only in times of need but in times of great wealth as well.
Forty years ago I attended a lecture during which the speaker spoke of three fundamental types of relationships: Very Draining relationships, harmlessly Neutral ones, and just a small handful of Replenishing relations.
The speaker then asked us to create three columns to write the names of people that fit in each category. You can understand my shock when, as a counselor, I discovered a long list of very draining people and cadre of colleagues and friends that fit into the Neutral column. But in the Replenishing column, apart from my wife, I could not enter even one name. Not one! No wonder I was at my wit’s end.
So I did exactly what any crazy person might attempt: I asked a very special person in my Neutral column if he would like to grow our friendship. After discussion (and a couple beers) we both agreed to give it a shot. Forty years later Terry Hershey remains one of my most needed friendships.
These are indeed brittle, tender and most delicate times. In these times we truly hunger for “soul food.” Nothing fills that hunger like a non-judgmental and replenishing friend.
We Really Need People
Especially Replenishing Ones
Photo courtesy of Nastco at istockphoto