I don’t know how many times I have heard financial advisors say: you are investing for the long haul! The implication being that it is important to ride out the ups and downs of the various financial markets I fully understand that concept and I would think that it is still a valid way of looking at things in a time of rapidly changing economics. But of more importantly I continue to find that such a principle applies to human relationships.
Not long ago I had a discussion with a 12 year old girl regarding some family concerns that are taking place in her life right now. She is fortunate. Her mom and dad are both good people. I realize that is not something for anyone to take for granted! We sat down one afternoon and had a good heart to heart discussion about challenges her family is facing. Bear in mind I am not a youth minister. And I am at least 30 years beyond being any hope of being cool. And to top it off I have never been a father to girls. But despite all of those strikes against me, the interchange went well.
Today I felt someone tap me on arm in the foyer after church services. I turned around and there was my 12 year old friend. I hugged her like she was my own child. The closer I get to 50 the softer I am getting. That precious little girl melted my heart this morning. She told me things in confidence several weeks ago that she knows I will never share with another soul.
It occurred to me a few hours later that I will probably get a phone call in 10 or 12 years. She will be a grown woman by that point and she will be calling on me to do a wedding ceremony. That scenario has been repeated more than once in the course of my 24 year career in ministry.
I was reminded this morning that I am investing in people for the long haul. There are rich benefits to such a commitment. Of course I fully realize that human relationships are far more unpredictable and complex than financial markets. But I am willing to ride that roller coaster. There are no financial benefits to such a commitment, but the personal rewards are priceless. I think I will continue to invest in people and learn to live with the ups and downs of real life.