Connection with a real friend can save us from the stress that threatens to derail our lives. We need consistent connections to live healthy, fulfilled lives, and that one-hour coffee date with that bestie may need to be a longer pit stop than we think.
The Runaway Train
Back in December I was in the throws of Christmas planning, manic blogging, and stressful mothering. I could feel the days passing quickly, which was good. That meant I was being productive and making it through. I thought the faster my wheels chugged, the better.
Really I was a runaway train carrying too many carloads. I knew I should have unloaded them back at the station where friends were waving and inviting me to stop the engine for a time. All I had to do was step onto the station platform and take a breather. But I was determined to only do what was on the schedule.
In a timely miracle, I had a Tuesday lunch date slated with my friend Alicia. When I texted her to set a time, she said she was blocking off the entire day. That made me put on the brakes. I didn’t think I had that kind of time. So I said yes, reluctantly.
Freedom To Stop
We met halfway in a cute little college town with antique shops, hot pizza, and trains that barrel through so loudly you can’t hear yourself talk. But I don’t remember a single train coming through that day. The tracks were silent as we shared four glorious hours together—no work, worries, and kids. Freedom. Friendship. Everything I needed.
Who is your friend? The one who lifts the load you don’t realize you’re hauling behind you until you’re snort-laugh-crying into burnt coffee together. The one to whom you can confess your sins, with whom you can sit in a 10-minute silence comfortably. The friend who knows you’re a wife, a mother, a beautiful life maker, not just an engineer trying to make it to the next destination on time.
That day Alicia reminded me: it’s good to get off the crazy train regularly. To make life-giving relationships priority and maybe that means schlumping tasks for a whole day.
I find it ironic that I never know how much time I truly need to recharge when my train feels almost out of control. Back in 1999, a train derailed in that little town. It left 3,000 tons of coal on top of four cars and destroyed a slew of buildings. A train part called the hot roller bearing broke in two.
That train was me: unnecessary pressure and heat building up toward a total loss of control. I was about to snap apart. My friend was the emergency cord. Her invitation saved my entire week, and probably the entire month of December for my family.
When I drove home from our day, I felt lighter and loved—completely revived and wholly myself again. The next time Alicia asked me to lunch, I made sure we made it a much longer connection.
How’s your train running? Who needs the gift of your connection this week?
Christina Hubbard is a writer, blogger, and poet. She is the author of 5 Ways To Love Like You Mean It. She has written for Mops International and several blogs. Helping creatives find freedom and courage in their work gives her a serious thrill. Her two creative kids and husband challenge her to keep making beautiful things and to just breathe. She has no qualms about running away for a day with her besties to escape the wonderfully messy world of mothering. Connect on her blog: Creative & Free. Follow her at Instagram or Twitter.