Tag Archives: friends

Be Curious

Seems like nowadays lots of people aren’t curious about their neighbors, their coworkers, new people at church.

Which is too bad because if you’re not curious, you miss out on making a potential friend.  Curiosity has gotten a bad rap of late. Most people now link curiosity with being nosy.

i don’t see it like that. My curiosity is part of my drive to know people and to form connections, maybe even a new friendship.

My husband and I made some good friends a few years ago just because we asked some questions. It went like this:

During the greet time at our church, I happened to notice a couple I’d never met.

“Hi, my name’s Dena. We moved to Colorado last year.”

“Nice to meet you,” the man said. “I’m Doug, and this is my wife, Mia.”

We shook hands. (it could have ended right there. I’m glad to say, it didn’t.)

“Where did you move from?” Doug asked.

“Most recently from Southern California, but we’ve lived in lots of different states.”

Mia said, “Us, too. We’re originally from Ohio.”

“Ohio! I went to school in Ohio.”

Doug perked up. “Really? What college?

“Oberlin. I went to the conservatory of music there. Have you heard of it?”

“Of course,” Doug said. “My brother went to Oberlin, but that was probably way before your time.”

Doug appeared to be around my age, so I asked, “When did your brother attend?”

“He went during the seventies.”

“That’s when I went!”

“Oh,” Doug sounded doubtful, “he went to the college. Competed on the swim team. I doubt you’d have met him.”

A spooky but exciting feeling started to zip around my stomach.”Now, this is really weird. I dated someone on the swim team, so maybe I met your brother.”

“His name is Bill.”

“Bill! I knew Bill. Tall, lean, long hair, did the distance races.”

“Yeah, that’s him.”

Doug and Mia and I started laughing .

i shook my head. “This is amazing.”

We finished our conversation, ending with updated news of Doug’s brother, Bill. Then we made plans to meet for dinner the following week. Doug and Mia turned out to be wonderful people and good friends.

It would have been easy to have simply said, “Hi, nice to meet you,” and have sat down again to wait for the sermon to begin.

But if we’d done that, we would have missed out on a truly fun and surprising conversation.

And a lovely friendship where both couples have enriched each other.

Nowadays, whenever I meet someone new, I try to imprint their voices and faces in my mind. Who knows? This new acquaintance might someday become my long-time, loyal friend.

“My father used to say that when you die, if you’ve got five real friends, you’ve had a great life.” (Lee Iacocca)


Years ago, in college, I developed the practice of going for long, solitary walks to clear my mind of all the stresses of classes, assignments, exams, and performances.

Later, as a busy mother, church volunteer, and music teacher, the only quiet and truly private spot I could find for my rare moments of retreat was—think the old Calgon commercials—the bathroom. Not really a retreat, but it was the most I could manage at that time.

Remember Maria from The Sound of Music? She hiked into the Austrian Alps to be alone with God and her thoughts. Wouldn’t that be great?

Nowadays, most of my mini-retreats are solitary places. So this past weekend’s Front Range Christian Fiction Writer’s Retreat at Estes Park was a new thing for me. At our resort, I met and socialized with my writer friends. Networked. Learned about writing opportunities. Listened. Shared. Ate and snacked with friends.

Then we all retreated to our separate rooms to write. No pressure to follow any specific agenda. No expectations for what and how much to write. Just do what you want for an entire weekend.

Sound great? You bet.

I did not turn on the TV. I didn’t listen to music. The quiet of the hotel room sometimes startled me, as if something were wrong. Until I reminded myself that it was okay to have silence.

But I’m learning that a Retreat isn’t necessarily about getting alone.

A Retreat is about leaving your usual set of daily activities and chores.

Letting the change in environment, the change in weather, in light or dark, in waking and sleeping, in your usual set of friends… shake your brain free. And asking God to accomplish his purpose during this time.

Nov 03 2010 057By Sunday, I felt fully into the mind-set of Retreat. I had finished editing my latest novel, and had formulated a plan for the next six months of my writing career. My mind felt clearer. Thank You, God!

Jesus went on Retreat. His were very short. But, being the Master, He knew how to get the most out of His jaunts up into the hills where he met His Father.

“With the crowd dispersed, He, (Jesus) climbed the mountain so He could be by Himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.” (Matt. 14:23 The Message)