In a group of friends who get together for dessert and a book discussion, one guy has a “management experience” in the corporate accounts side, after being on the retail side. Meanwhile, he has had to decide how to fit in cancer treatments. His wife, a medical social worker, has just changed to a different organization where she is tasked with heading a team focusing on one kind of domestic trauma.
Another friend has just left his secure FT job of 15 years to be a stay at home dad and probably start his own business in investment strategies. His wife also has interesting new challenges in her job. A third friend is deciding whether to continue in his chem-engineering job where he would likely manage the department soon, or take the risk of leaving that job to be fulltime with a company he and 3 friends started a few years ago. He supports a wife and 3 kids, one of whom has severe learning and health challenges. Even at church, one young pastor has been chosen as the lead pastor, and another pastor, his good friend who was planning to work as a team with him, has taken a position in a different church.
And then there is work. Many good people have come and gone in just the 2 years that I’ve been working for this library. Those who have stayed have gotten to know each other better. There have been serious health challenges — new life and loss of friends. We all go through changes. In times of transition — both good/exciting and hard — it is important to know what to lean on. We treasure the friends we have — friends who will listen. We value peers and mentors.
We also value ways to interact with other people’s stories. Sometimes it is easier to talk about the pain and growth in someone else’s story as we reflect on our own. I’m reminded of the value of a book club. Some groups read a book with philosophical subtext (like Tuesdays with Morrie or The Last Lecture), or pure fiction, reflecting on life as it is. Some choose to read specifically a religious book, like the Book of James in the Bible, or stories from the Ramayana or other sacred text.
A patron today asked for a book on business topic for a book group at work. What a great way to bond with coworkers and perhaps a team feeling in the work environment! So, even as the school year ends, and schedules change, let’s take time to get together with friends, perhaps to discuss a good book, or simply to talk and listen.