I had a friend -- a very good friend -- who called me once in the middle of the night because, in the throngs of stress, illness, and post-partum depression, she was thinking about taking her own life. I talked to her and got her to wake up her husband. We talked more in the days that followed, and she's fine today, thank the Lord.
I've considered since then that I'm grateful she thought of me as a good enough friend to call in such a time of need. But I've also considered that perhaps that good of a friend should have seen this coming. I mean, I knew she was stressed . . I knew she was going through a really rough time . . I was praying for her . . but still, I didn't really know . . .
There have been specific times in my life when I felt like I was very much let down by friends. Times when I had desperate need of them and they weren't there for me. Thing is, I have a hard time blaming them for those times. They weren't really being neglectful or thoughtless or doing anything wrong necessarily. They were actually doing a lot of right things. A whole lot of things. Many, many, many things. Too many things. And that was the problem.
A couple people I have known over the years have told me they made conscious decisions to keep their lives uncluttered and open so they were available when the Spirit came knocking. Yes! I thought. That's how to live life. Like in Richard Swenson's book Margin, leaving empty space around the edges, not filling up every inch of the page with words and projects and meetings and activities -- however consequential they may be. Because you need that space when the important stuff happens . . . or even to see that important stuff is happening.
So, why is it so hard to put that into practice?