How expensive are relationships?

As you may know, a couple years ago I left full time church work and bought a small business. It probably didn’t look like a wise decision on paper: A specialty coffee shop in one of the most depressed counties in the United States. The price tag was reasonable but owning, operating, and relocating it was expensive. I’ve had my moments of second guessing myself but today I was reminded again it’s been worth every penny.

This morning I had to take Golden Boy, my 2001 Saturn to the shop. He was making painful and disturbing noises. (Fortunately it’s going to be a beautiful day and I can get around on my motorcycle.) I took it to Oliver’s, a family owned garage in Flushing that I found through my friends at the coffee shop. Bill, a good friend from the coffee shop came to get me. And no doubt when the car is ready to be picked up tomorrow, someone from the coffee shop will tote me back to Oliver’s.

When I got home I began to think of the network of relationships I wandered into two years ago. It’s like a big sticky spider web that when you run into it you notice. “Whoa…what’s this? There’s something here. I’m not sure what it is. I sure didn’t expect it.” It gets onto you. It gets into you. And like a spider web there are several anchor points that keep it taut and in place; care, generosity, energy and time.

Rublev’s Coffee is not a utopia. People still disagree. Some folks visit and don’t come back. But if you stick around you can get a glimpse of the way things should be. My friends…most of whom do not attend church…regularly show me the beauty of humanity.

Quick math shows that I would be in the same place right now financially if I would have just lived frugally off what I had in the bank before I bought the business. That is sobering. However, I’m so glad I didn’t take that track because a quick internal inventory tells me I would be relationally bankrupt.

Relationships are very expensive but the return on our investment is quite lucrative. I’m not sure if or where this post speaks to you today. All of us have valid reasons not to risk being in relationships with people. Take it from me…it’s worth it.


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