I saw her come in the door of the restaurant and waved her over. She smiled and hurried to our booth, gave me a quick hug and sat down across from me.
The waitress was right on her heels. She offered her a drink, and my friend ordered exactly what sat in front of me: coffee and a glass of ice water.
But then my fairly new friend said something that made me swallow down hard and skip a breath.
She looked at the waitress, smiled all friendly and said, “Now we’re going to be drinking a lot of coffee and sitting in this booth a long time talking, so I hope you don’t need this table any time soon.”
The waitress looked a little baffled, but smiled and shrugged her shoulders. Then she left to get my friend’s bottomless cup of coffee.
The woman who had invited me to breakfast didn’t just want to eat and dash. She didn’t have an appointment she needed to get to. I don’t remember if she even wore a watch, but I know she never looked at it if she did. She never once glanced at her phone or looked restless. She had come to linger.
We ordered eggs and bacon and fruit and such. But by the time we pried ourselves from the vinyl seats of that booth, our waitress was serving the people behind me hamburgers and fries and colas.
Don’t you just love it when someone wants to sit and talk and linger just as much as you do? So often we feel that we’ve been squeezed into a calendar or schedule, we’re on the clock, we’re one task on a list of to-do’s. So when someone makes it clear that they have all the time in the world for you…doesn’t it just melt your heart a little?
Before we even delved into deep conversation, my heart was already soft and tender toward this woman who wanted to do nothing more than spend time with me on this weekday morning. And then she listened…with her ears, her eyes, her full attention. I felt valued and loved and interesting and humbled.
She wanted to linger…with me.
What a gift.
Think about the last time someone carved out plenty of time for you. Not just a few minutes on the phone or a quick lunch. Those meetups certainly have their place. But think about the most recent time when someone let you know up front that you were their priority. How did that make you feel?
Would you be willing to give that gift to someone in the next few days? You may have to move some things around on your calendar or even cancel something. You may have to get the kids taken care of. You may need to state your intentions up front so that the other person does the same. You may need to take your watch off and turn your phone to silence.
It’s worth it.
Lingering. It’s one of the sweetest, most precious and rarest gifts of friendship. Perhaps some of us have lost the art of lingering altogether. That’s a shame. It doesn’t cost much, and it does you as much good as it does the friend who sits across from you. Lingering speaks volumes, even beyond the words you say during the time you converse.
Indeed, we drank a lot of coffee. We said a lot and listened a lot. We prayed together. We ate heartily and laughed and wept and sighed. I don’t remember all the words (although I do remember many of them). But I will long remember the message my friend spoke to me when she chose to linger…with me.
How does it make you feel when someone chooses to linger with you in conversation? Would you like to share a for instance? I’d love to hear all about it!