A few years ago Nancy and I learned a lesson that speaks to the heart of Latin culture: It is more important to spend time with friends than to complete a task. A Costa Rican would never hesitate, as I did then, if a friend dropped by and said, "Come on, let's go see the new shop up the road!" The opportunity to be with a friend is precious and should be seized—not to avoid work, but to embrace life.
We were reminded of this lesson once again. We leave our home on Isla Mujeres, Mexico, tomorrow and we have a to-do list up to the ceiling. A friend is having a gathering at her house this afternoon and we have been saying for days “We’ll try to make it, but we have a lot of packing and last minute chores to do.” We have had workmen in and out for weeks, and just this morning we had the broken outside doorknob replaced.
As Nancy was readying an email with our regrets this morning, I said, “Wait. Remember what we learned in Costa Rica.” Nancy gave me a significant look, knowing just what I meant, and immediately changed the email to express our delight in attending.
Spending time with friends is more important than any to-do list. Chores will get done, and if not, the world goes on. No task is worth missing an afternoon deepening the connection with friends old and new.