Talk to Me
By Stacee Helton
February 4, 2023
I moved away from my hometown in Kentucky 30 years ago, when I was 19. My then-boyfriend, who later became my husband, and I left “the Best Town on Earth” and set out for Oklahoma, to attend college. We never could have imagined it at the time, but that one giant step of faith would affect and direct the course of our entire adult lives.
We made many friends at college, from all over the country. Some of them are still our closest friends, all these years later. With each move we made in our ministry, we created friendships and relationships that were always hard to leave behind with the next move. Social media might have a few downsides, but allowing us the opportunity to keep in touch with folks from our past is definitely a positive thing, in my opinion.
We all have those friends and family who live a distance away, but when we talk to them, even if much time has passed since the last time we spoke, it feels like it was only yesterday. We pick right up where we left off, and start filling each other in on what we might have missed. That’s the way it is for me, and several of my closest friends. You ask yourself each time, “Why do we let so much time pass between conversations?” or “Why don’t we get together more often?” We always have so much fun and share many laughs when we are together. The answer is simple… life gets in the way. Sometimes, we do have those friendships that can suffer, due to lack of correspondence or communication. People grow and change, and if we aren’t there for at least the highlights, these old friends might move on without us.
When our kids are little and demand so much of our time, it’s hard to find the time to squeeze-in one more thing. Add a pastor’s schedule to the mix, with all the demands involved there, and the stress of life can just be overwhelming, at times. Our love for our friends is still there, even if the regular conversation is not, but in order to have that close connection, we have to be intentional about making time to talk to them.
Last year, my husband reached a milestone of 25 years in ministry, (ordained for 20 years, next year) and as of this very week, 12 of those years have been spent serving in this special little town. It’s the longest we’ve served at any church. As you can imagine, we have made some dear friends here, and I’m thankful, because all of our close family lives in other states. These friendships are strong because we can spend time together and share life experiences.
I can sometimes sound like a broken record, but I find myself very often telling our teenagers at church: “It’s hard to have a relationship with someone you never talk to”. Read that sentence again, and let yourself feel the weight of it. How often do we allow our chaotic schedules or our screens to steal time from us? Time we could be using to actually talk with one another, but even more importantly… time to talk with God, and strengthen our relationship with Him. Our conversations don’t have to be extended, lengthy dialogues. We can acknowledge that He is there with us, and include Him in our day. To seek His guidance for decisions, big or small. To thank Him when our prayers are answered, and to praise Him, either way.