Friends First; Coworkers Second
Updated: Sep 26, 2020
I experienced a beautiful thing this week and connected face to face with a coworker I used to work with and really care for. We've kept in touch periodically over the last year and as think about it today I distinctly remember her saying when I told everyone I was leaving, "I'm so sad because I'm not good at keeping in touch with people." Quickly I reminded her "that's okay, its a talent God has blessed me with. So, you'll never be far and we'll stay in touch." It's true, it's one of the treasures God has granted me. I have a unique ability to connect with people from all walks of life, ages, and personalities...and once you're in my heart; you're in for life.
So, as the last year or so has past we've sent short texts to each other, some video chats, and other forms of communication just to check in and be present. A few weeks ago I commented on a social media post where she was sitting on her beautiful screened in back porch enjoying a cup of coffee and it made me think how lucky I am she entered my life. See, she and I are pretty different in personalities but are both very grounded in the foundation of family, strong work ethic, and love for God. Up until I left my last employer, we had worked together for nearly 10 years...and almost all of my time in Florida. She truly saw me grow up in my 30's, fall in love, marry that man, strive to stay strong as a navy wife with a deployed husband, build a career in a new city, grow in my friendships along the way, walk into my first leadership role, and try to build a culture at work where we all felt important and valued. That last part nearly did me in...but I wouldn't change it for the world. I also watched her continue to grow in so many amazing ways I couldn't even list them all.
I walked with her during part of her life story too - how she's overcome the odds with grace, love, and God. So, seeing her outside on her back porch being at peace brought a warm feeling to my heart and I knew I needed to celebrate that. So, we planned to get together and spend a lunchtime at her new home to catch up. I had to reschedule once and was worried it wouldn't come to fruition, but was determined to make it a priority.
When I pulled up I wondered "what will we talk about" and told myself
"make sure you don't talk work stuff."
When I pulled up I wondered "what will we talk about" and told myself "make sure you don't talk work stuff." But as quickly as she opened the door and we hugged, it went back to how its always been - easy and genuine. The hour flew by fast and we covered so many topics about family, friends, marriage, divorce, kids, art and life in general. As we were both rushing to 1 p.m. conference calls I walked away feeling fulfilled and content that friendships remain the same even if employers don't.
It was a good reminder that God puts all people in your path for a reason. Some stay forever and some stay for a finite amount of time...but they all matter! Regardless of the timeline together, those you work with sometimes enter into your life as a teammate and stay as a friend. I'm lucky to say I have a lot of those. In reality, the work can be a means to the end while the relationships continue to grow. But, that would make sense since we live life out together; even if they are typically in story format and work life at the office.
As I drove away I thought to myself; What a great and curious world this is - Everyday we have the chance to invest in others and show how much they mean to us. We can take advantage of opportunities to connect and reconnect with people who matter in our life.
What a great life!