The Breakfast Club!
May 15th, 2022
By Stephen Doherty
“Seek First to Understand – Then, To Be Understood.” -Stephen Covey
One of the finest gifts my father ever bestowed unto me was a love of personal interaction and engagement. All my life, I have enjoyed any and every forum for discussions and personal interactions. When I was young, my dad and I used to stay up late and talk about history, politics, family events, and just general observations and opinions about everyday life and current events.
As I’ve gotten older, I have created the habit of regularly reaching out to friends of every stripe for the purpose of meeting for coffee or a meal and sharing stories, thoughts, family updates, etc. For me, this type of interaction is tantamount to receiving a powerful injection of spiritual nutrition or simply recharging fatigued energy cells.
People regularly seek out inspiration and motivation precisely because life saps us of our available energy and zealousness. I think creating a powerful matrix of friends and acquaintances and weaving them regularly into our normal daily lives and activities is the absolute best tonic possible for our hearts and minds.
Let me be crystal clear about something. Nothing. Absolutely NOTHING can replace the family in terms of spiritual immersion, love, and happiness on countless levels that are so crucial to our lives. But as we get older, life harshly reminds us that nothing is forever and absent dependable back-up, any one of us can end up spiritually dehydrated, mentally awash, and emotionally orphaned.
Kids get married and move on with their own lives. Half of us get divorced and struggle to reweave our existence into something fresh, vibrant, and meaningful. Sadly, fate culls our sacred inner circles with its own means of deleting our most sacred sources of love and support. One of life’s hardest lessons is that all forms of love and spiritual comradery – are perishable. Reliance on any one source of spiritual rejuvenation can be unnecessarily risky.
These gatherings are an enormously meaningful part of my life. I truly cannot wait to get together with people I know and appreciate and have a high regard for. I’ve also come to realize – courtesy of these coffees and lunches, how broad a spectrum are the definitions of love. In my heart, I have a measure of love and affection for anyone who deems me worthy enough to share a sip and a story.
Time is the most valuable commodity any of us have. Investing it in friends is one of its highest and most honorable uses. Few things in life have the ability to deliver the kind of returns we see in the friendships we choose to nurture.
Research and our own heartfelt anecdotal evidence have shown us that few things are more devastating or destructive to human beings than the loss or absence of emotional support, comradery, and the warmth of a comforting hand. I’m not talking about only the obvious slides into loneliness and dementia experienced by people who have suffered the devastating loss of their soul mate.
I’m talking about a similar loss of hope and purpose by people of all ages who simply lack a coffee mate to help cleanse their spiritual wells. I often wonder how much human tragedy and suffering could be avoided if not for a smile and a hand of kindness extended. Hopelessness cannot survive in the warm embrace of people who care even a little.
I know of few things that offer the kind of spiritual and emotional reciprocity of a great discussion with folks we’ve shared the trail with. For me, the list is fascinatingly diverse and almost unexplainably divergent.
In just the last few weeks I’ve spent time swapping stories with friends from my Kindergarten class as well as newly found partners met only recently. There is no check list for “who” to pursue for these almost miraculously uplifting opportunities to share our respective lives. However, there is a recommended timeframe for treating yourself to such hallowed moments of mutual creation. That moment would be NOW!
“So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart,
I shall say that life is good.” — Helen Keller