There is an element of investment in our relationships which lasts forever. So often I hesitate to invest, thinking I can't spare the time or am afraid to be hurt, but recently I heard the statement, "Relationships are forever" and it had the effect of a cold pail of water to the face. I need to see these investments for the long-term value they possess, for memories don't tarnish or break. Once made, they stay in our minds forever.
When I think of my dad or my Granny or Jason's Gramma, my most significant relationships which have been cut off by death, I recognize that this concept is true. What they gave me of themselves lives on in my memory and through my life, and the experiences we shared together don't get lost or damaged. They are as real today as they were thirty years ago when I was a young child.
Our society values material things, and I forget sometimes to fight against that, and place my relationships higher on the list. What I give to my kids, and my husband, and the rest of my family and friends, lasts forever. When I look at it that way, it helps me see my time as the treasure it is, and firms up my boundaries for how I spend it. I want to build into those things that last, and not give away my love and energy thoughtlessly. These things are too valuable to be squandered.
We all have the same twenty-four hours in any given day to spend. Often I don't spend it like I plan to, because of illness or children or a million emergencies which may crop up at any moment. I used to see the days where I did nothing productive as a waste of time, but reading my novel, snuggling with my sick kid on the couch, or talking on the phone with a friend is not wasted time if I am feeding my soul or creating a memory. I find it virtually impossible to achieve that elusive sense of balance, where leisure and ambition are two sides of the same scale, and are perfectly level and measured, but every day I'm alive is another day to try for it.
I'm going to add "relationships are forever" as a postscript to the bottom of my boundary sheet. Investing in others is a lifelong proposition. It is why we are alive, so that we can overlap the edges of our lives and emotions with someone else, and find meaning together through all of the heartbreak and euphoria that is life.