On Droughts and Relationships

On Droughts and Relationships

This summer much of the interior of the U.S. has been bone dry. The drought has been nearly as severe as the “dust bowl” years in the 1930’s with corresponding crop damage and record low water levels. Having recently planted a new garden in my courtyard, I became very aware of the need for careful tending and watering.

You know what? Plants make you stay curious and ask good questions! How is this plant doing? Does it need more or less water? Is it getting enough sun? What’s the best way to prune this one? Am I doing something to make it droop like that? I enjoy the color, texture and ambiance they provide, but I can’t slack off and pretend that they don’t need my tending.

I’ve realized that staying this curious and this focused on asking good questions regarding my relationships would have a profound effect on their growth as well. Relationships are generative—they exist to grow and be productive—and without some tending, they too can wither.

So I’ve decided to do some sprucing up of my relationships by writing letters to several of the people in my life who I haven’t talked to in a while, especially those who have had a big impact on me. And do you know what’s happened? The tendrils of new growth have emerged—many have written back to me with updates on their lives, invited me to dinner or said thank you. How cool is that? What you appreciate, appreciates!

The tendency, of course, is to look back and wonder what might be different in my life had I taken the time to cherish past relationships this way. While there is certainly learning there, I’m choosing instead to look forward with expectancy of the wonderful things to come from this new practice.

What relationships need tending in your life? What questions are you asking about them? What’s happening as a result of paying closer attention?