I read a book in college called Reclaiming Friendship by Ajith Fernando. One of the big concepts from the book was "Lingering" and how it's a forgotten skill. I have a hard time believing that among college students - all they DO is linger (i.e. "hang out"). I probably remember that concept because I thought it justified giving more time to relationships at the cost of studying, grades, showing up for my part-time job, etc.
Really, Mr. Fernando, I am a FABULOUS lingerer. I actually had to develop the discipline of not being the last one at a party, and I still struggle with that. I once got fired from a job and the boss told my friend, "All I ever see her doing is talking to everyone." Yes, that's a problem when you're supposed to be doing payroll - but it makes for a great dorm Bible study leader. Good thing I figured that out and moved toward campus ministry rather than accounting.
Anyway... Ajith Fernando's point, if I remember correctly, wasn't to forsake your job - but he emphasized how important it is to give time to your relationships. As a stay-at-home mom, I notice all the other stay-at-home moms have very little time to linger, what with baby's nap schedule, housework, and those pesky meals you have to make magically appear three times a day. Add to that holidays, hobbies, computer time, nail-filing, sleeping, laundry, going to the bathroom, minor home repairs, and trips to the store, and it's a wonder we even HAVE any friendship time. When I get to hang out with friends, it's like GOLD, I tell you.
It happened today. It was chilly outside, but the sun was shining and all the kids were playing and there was always a neighbor-friend to sit and chat with. But my floor needed mopping. Desperately. And yet I couldn't tear myself away. We were out there for easily four hours. No problems were solved, or diseases cured. And my floor is still filthy. But I'm going to believe that Ajith Fernando would be proud.
And tomorrow is Sunday! Mass and then MORE relaxation. Gotta find someone to linger with.