Cutting Our Losses

I believe in finishing well. And that no matter how much we mess up a conversation or situation, it’s never too late to end on a more positive note.

While this philosophy works well to calm the waters of regret before they wash away our peace, it often requires an investment of even more resources at a time when many of us would be tempted to cut our losses. Resources like the time it takes to send an e-mail or a hand-written note to someone we may have unintentionally offended. Or the effort required to plan a night out and bridge a gap of silence that has been growing between friends.

I was attempting to accomplish the latter when I drove my daughters to Nebraska during their last spring break. For several weeks before the trip, I thought about calling a few classmates to see if they were available to meet me at an alumni event that was scheduled for the same weekend I was back. Because so much time had passed since our last get-together, I was hesitant to dial their numbers. I was also concerned about logistics. The event was 45 minutes away from where my daughters and I were staying; and after driving for ten hours, the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time behind the wheel. 

It’s been said that people will do what’s important to them at their own inconvenience. Because keeping in touch with friends is important to me, it felt wrong not to at least try to reconnect with a few of mine from high school. And so half-way through Iowa, I started making calls. To my surprise, every person answered the phone (even the one who normally would not have been home).

“I can’t believe you called on the one day that I happen to be home sick,” she said.

My classmate was amazed by the coincidence, but I wasn’t. That’s how God works. With gentle nudges and nagging feelings that escalate until the exact moment when obedience meets providence and a divine connection is made. It is in this moment that faith is strengthened and relationships are restored.

I saw this firsthand at the alumni event as my classmates and I reminisced about the crazy things we did to add excitement to our quiet, small-town lives. Our meeting also gave me a chance to apologize for the way I treated one childhood friend during a football game our senior year. The offense was small in the grand scheme of our friendship but, because it was one of the last times we spoke, the thought of seeing her again always made me uncomfortable … until now.

Now, it was like we had never been apart as I realized: The best way to cut our losses is not to avoid people, but to invest even more in them. And when we do, the only thing that will be finished is the distance that separates close friends.

“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” – Proverbs 14:23a

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