How much can a ten minute conversation cost?  It turns out it can cost $142.  That’s what it cost me in gas, tolls and parking fees Monday, when my travel plans imploded all because I lingered too long in conversation.

I knew the connections were tight when I planned the day to contain two doctor’s appointments plus a trip to N.J. via bus and Amtrak. I planned to take thefinal train of the day. My tickets were printed beforehand and there was a 30 minute margin of error between the end of the final appointment and bus departure. What could go wrong?

My quick doctor’s appointment wasn’t so quick, however.  It had started 15 minutes late. And at the end of the visit, the discussion with my physician took an interesting turn and we actually discussed a separate topic important to both of us. Imagine!  A doctor who doesn’t watch the clock!

Furthermore,  I misplaced my keys in my brand new purse, necessitating that I climb the stairs a second time to hunt for them in the office.  That five minute margin of error (originally it was a 30 minute margin) was all it took for me to miss the bus that would connect me to the train.  As I zipped crazily into the station parking lot, I viewed the Concord Coach leaving.  My cell phone read 2:28 – it had left two minutes early!

A las!  What to do?  Should I yell at the gate agent over a bus leaving early?  No, it was my own fault.  I could have managed my time a little better…chatted with the physician a little less, been mindful of my keys a little more.  Should I be mad at myself?  No, I didn’t choose that option either.  After all, I had chosen civility over hurry, relationship-building over facelessness. 

Should I be mad at myself?  No, I didn’t choose that option either.  After all, I had chosen civility over hurry, relationship-building over facelessness.  And why berate myself about not knowing the hidden recesses of a brand new anti-identity theft purse (designed to prevent yet another problem)?

I would have to man up.  I would drive the two hours to Boston to park in an airport distance parking lot at $19 a day. I would take free mass transit from the airport the train station to avoid paying downtown rates of $38 a day and arrive huffing with ten minutes to spare.  And I would have a story to tell.

Connecting with one another may not cost as much as it did me that day, but it does often comes with a price tag.  Extra time.  However, you can choose to build it into your week.  At Freeport church I weekly reconnect with folks with whom I’ve developed ties, folks who know and value me.

Oh, it may take some time to develop these kinds of ties.  You may have to show up to Charlie’s Sabbath School on the books of John, or join a pot-luck team, or show up at Gabe’s mid-week Bible study; but I think you’ll find it’s worth it. And it won’t cost 142 dollars!

So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 8:15)

 

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