Carefree Timelessness

Betty blue bordered (2)Welcome back to our 4 Minutes 4 Growth. I hope you shared a discussion of hopes and dreams with someone you love.

Would you like to feel even closer to that someone?

Matthew Kelly writes that the key to thriving relationships is carefree timelessness. By this he means spending time with people without an agenda, simply to enjoy their company. No matter what the relationship, whether spouse to spouse, parent to child, friend to friend, or person to God, increase carefree timelessness and it will deepen.

When have we experienced carefree timelessness in our lives?

Remember when we first met the love of our life and how easily the hours could pass spent in one another’s company? Conversations were easy and fun. We could share a lengthy visit in person or on the phone without running out of topics to cover, not because we needed to exchange information, simply because we enjoyed the time together.

Think of how, as a teen, you could spend hours talking on the phone. Now teens can connected by both phone and computer. But if you ask them what they talked about they’ll still  shrug and say, “Nothing much,” like we did to our parents.

Or remember how close you felt to the people who shared your last vacation? Our walks along the beach, hikes on forest trails, or easy games of Frisbee didn’t accomplish concrete goals, but rather social and relational ones. We relaxed. We realized how much we value the people close to us.

Sadly, our busy-ness today is an enemy of growing intimacy and deepening relationships. There’s a recent trend in the work place that employees don’t take all the vacation time they accrue. What a lost opportunity to share with our families that down time that seems so simple and yet draws us so close.

Maybe due to our tightened belts we take “stay-cations” and don’t leave home. Yet, if we don’t leave our day-to-day responsibilities behind, we risk taking on yard or home projects to accomplish, rather than refreshing our spirits.

And oh, dear, our Sabbaths suffer. Given to us as a gift from our Creator to help us renew ourselves weekly, Sundays instead become a work day to cram in what we think we must accomplish before the next week begins: laundry, homework, unfinished office work, or shopping. Sabbaths are meant for renewal of ourselves and our relationships.

Our lives find their meaning in our relationships. Ask the people lying in the hospital, soon to leave this earth what made their lives important. It’s the people who stand at their bedside, the people they’ve loved or served, who are the monuments to their existence. The lives they’ve touched and improved give testimony to their accomplishments more than their promotions or patents.

Yes, we need to work, and our employment is an opportunity to minister to the world by how we behave or what we produce. However, our love will survive us and influence the world more profoundly.

There’s a country song, “She Thinks We’re Just Fishin’,” which portrays a dad realizing the times he spends fishing with his little girl are moments they both will remember and treasure. Go “fishing” with someone important to you!

I know one dad who jogs with each of his young adult children when they get together. I can imagine the interesting conversations caught between breaths. Another father sets aside Sunday afternoons to call each of his grown daughters, simply to catch up and stay connected. One friend never listens to music while driving her children, preferring the spontaneous conversations that seem easier when not sitting face to face. I remember my mother suggesting window-shopping walks downtown at night after our small town stores had closed. I don’t recall any life-changing conversations, but those walks told me she valued our time together, when time was a scarce commodity for a single mother.

So, this week’s homework: Spend a little carefree time with someone you love. No agenda, no goals to meet. Simply relish the moments together. Call a friend. Write a letter. Take a walk with one of your children and focus on him or her and the joy of sharing time. Play a game, not to win or teach, but for fun.

If you’d really like to test the parameters of this tool to intimacy, spend some carefree timelessness with God. Visit the Blessed Sacrament in perpetual adoration chapels, or sit in an easy chair near a window and turn your attention to him. Recognize you are in his presence always and everywhere. Chat with him. And listen.

You can learn more about Matthew Kelly at

“What are your hopes and dreams?”

Recently my husband and I listened to spirituality speaker and author Matthew Kelly’s recording, The Seven Levels of Intimacy. To briefly list them:





  1. Clichés – “How are you?” “Fine, thanks.” We use these to socialize, but they can draw us closer or be used to keep people at a distance.
  2. Facts – “I see your team won yesterday.” Again, these interactions can enhance or block increased intimacy.
  3. Opinions – These open us to greater sharing, but are fraught with danger. People think they need to convince others to their opinions.
  4. Hopes and Dreams – Nothing is more fulfilling than chasing down a dream, or more satisfying than helping someone live their dreams. Sharing hopes and dreams enhances intimacy.
  5. Feelings – Knowing our feelings, being comfortable about them, expressing them in the right place, at the right time, to the right person. Contrary to what our culture thinks, love isn’t based on understanding, but rather on acceptance. Some feelings aren’t meant to be understood, only accepted.
  6. Fears, Faults, & Failures – These drive us away from the best versions of ourselves and from intimacy. Do you know your fears? Do you know the fears of those around you? When people allow themselves to be vulnerable and express these, powerful intimacy grows.
  7. Legitimate Needs – Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual – God gave us these clues to help us thrive. Eat well, exercise, sleep regularly, give focus and priority to relationships, read great books, and finally value silence, solitude, scriptures, and sacraments. You never can get enough of what you don’t need; you only can get enough of what you need. Focus on helping each other achieve legitimate needs and you will grow close.


Driving in the car (the kind of captive-conversation situation that I love but makes my husband groan), we asked each other, “What are your hopes and dreams?”

We are both in a stage of life where many of our dreams have been accomplished. Our children are grown and leading productive lives. My husband is doing well at work, recognized for his abilities. Thanks to his work, we’ve traveled to some amazing places together. I’ve met my goal of having a book published, and recently a second. We’ve lived to delight in a grandchild and are anticipating a second in May.

We feel very grateful for all we’ve accomplished and been blessed with, but it was nice to realize we aren’t finished with dreams. We still have hopes for our “someday.” Hearing each other talk about them drew us closer, and created a sense of excitement. We realized we still have adventures ahead of us, and as a team we can help each other move toward our individual goals. Two of my dreams are to vastly reduce what I own, and to finance a well for a community in need of clean water.

What are your hopes and dreams? Have you taken time lately to think about them? Have you talked to your spouse or soul mate about them? (Maybe one of your goals is to find a soul mate!) Do you know what your “significant other” hopes and dreams about? How about your children? Our intimacy will deepen if we talk to each other about our dreams. It will skyrocket if we work to help each other to achieve them!


So, homework:

  1. Ask yourself what hopes and dreams you have for your future. Write them down. Pick one you can start working on. What’s the first step? Take it this week!
  2. Ask your beloved or your children what dreams they have for the years ahead. Matthew recommends couples keep a shared notebook of their hopes and dreams, reviewing it often and discussing it together. What could you start working on together this week?



You can learn more about Matthew Kelly at

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