This week our goal is to connect. Tonight might be a good time.
In the spirit of New Years and new starts the idea for this week is to connect with someone you haven’t in a long time and if necessary be the first to forgive.
Ultimately the most important thing in life is our relationships. Our relationship with each other and our relationship with Jesus.
So when I talk about reconnecting and forgiving it’s because relationships are so integral to our lives. Again, they are the most important thing. And like so many people know, forgiveness is almost always more about you than them. They may still be made or hurt but until you forgive you’re allowing that situation to have control in your life. Your life isn’t full because of the hurt, pain, bitterness you’re holding. Forgiveness doesn’t condone what was done but says I’m moving on and I won’t allow that to dictate how I act or feel.
Forgive, releases yourself and them. Who knows maybe they are ready for reconciliation.
If relationships are the most important thing in the world then repairing a torn relationship is about as important as it gets.
People always talk about how to keep Jesus at the centre this time of year. We’ve lost Him some how.
Luckily I have an easy fix.
God is love.
Sharing love then is sharing God
Jesus is God.
See easy, go love some people and we’ll keep Jesus at the centre.
While it may seem like we should take this week off with it being Christmas and all we aren’t.
We actually have a special family oriented challenge for this week.
The idea is to pick a topic you don’t know anything about but you know someone in your family is passionate about and learn it. Do some research so you can talk about it when you see them this week.
If we were family maybe you try and and learn about basketball or football or video games. Something I spend way to much time on but often don’t have anyone at a family thing who would want to talk about it.
Think how much you’d appreciate being able to spend family time talking about what your interested in or passionate about?
I bet it would make a merry Christmas.
I was reminded this week why I like computers. Writing by hand takes a loooooong time!
I didn’t get to one a day. I did write a few. One a day was an ambitious goal.
But I was good. I’m excited to hear back, but more than that I’m hoping people felt loved. I got a few cards this week at work. Some were standard business one but some were honest and real. Hand written. With an honest hope for good to happen in my life because these people know me and care for me.
One was a thank you for all the work I’d done this year. I don’t often feel like people get or understand the work that I do and so there aren’t a lot of people showing appreciation to me. They appreciate the centre and the staff they know but not always me.
So these small gestures where I’m seen, where my hand in their life is noticed means a lot.
I hope my words mean as much to the people I wrote to.
I was thinking more about the song lyric from yesterday.
It drew to mind the idea of legacy. What do we leave behind?
Often when someone talks about legacy it’s in relation to death. What will you leave for your family? What will the world be like when your gone? I think those are important questions. If you are in ANY relationships you there will be some kind of impact when you’re no longer around.
Who are you?
What do people see?
Have you ever asked?
It’s an interesting process. Asking people who can be honest with you. Finding out how the world sees you. Hearing about your legacy while you still have time to impact it.
Are you who you think you are? Want to be? Have been called to be?
I suppose the easiest way to alter you life legacy once you start to see what it’s becoming is to break it down.
Consider this, when you leave a room/conversation/party/whatever, what do you leave behind?
What is the space like when you’re gone? What hole do you leave?
Is it more fun?
What do you leave behind? Do you leave a hole that people are excited about because that hole means this space is now better?
Or do you leave a hole worth leaving? One that speaks to your love and care and impact on the people your in relationships with? A hole people notice for all the right reasons. One they hope you will come and fill again and again.
If the hole you leave day by day isn’t worth leaving, the hole you leave when you die won’t be much better.
I heard a lyric in a song the other day that stood out. The singer said “do ya ever get the feeling there ain’t no hole when you’re not around?”
It struck me.
The idea of being seen or connecting isn’t new for me or new for this space. It comes up a lot actually.
I wonder however, if it bears repeating this time of year. So many people, parties, activities, family, it’s easy to get lost. It’s easy to be in a room full of people and be alone.
And how sad is that. A room full of family, friends, co-workers and someone is for all intents and purposes alone. Maybe it’s their own fault. Maybe they won’t engage. Maybe they don’t want to connect. Maybe their tired or sick. Maybe they’re an introvert and the group is too much.
And maybe they are all alone in a room full of people that won’t’ notice when they aren’t around.
Maybe they are in a room with you and you won’t notice when they aren’t around.
Maybe no matter what they room, no one notices when they aren’t around.
Maybe they wish there would be a hole when they aren’t around.
Maybe we should notice so there is a hole when they aren’t around.
I was going to write about technology but it’s been done so much it’s not interesting anymore.
Fact is we live in this technological world and have for some time.
But the longer technology is so ingrained in our lives the more meaningful connection without technology will become. The effort to make it happen means something.
This week we are challenged to put in some effort for those who have had some meaning in our lives.
Each day write a letter or a note. Doesn’t have to be long but it does have to be handwritten, awful penmanship and all. Write something each day to a person who has made an impact on your life. So often those who change us have no idea they’ve done it.
Maybe it was at a time when we couldn’t articulate the impact or it seemed to us the impact was so obvious we didn’t need to mention it.
Either way, every day this week share the meaning someone has had in your life with them.
Connect in a way that these days shows real care an intent. Your effort will show your sincerity.
Life gets in the way. Or I suppose obstacles get in the way of the life you want.
This week it was sickness.
Sarah has been sick for the past few days. Nothing major but enough that she sat on a couch for two days. Now if you know Sarah you’ll understand that Sarah simply doesn’t sit. She is the energizer bunny incarnate.
She just keeps going and going and going.
It’s tiring just to watch.
So I stepped into her shoes the past few days.
She is amazing, I don’t know how she gets it all done. I did not get it all done.
But that’s just life right?
Things pop up, life is chaotic at best often.
I missed a few days of writing. I missed a few days of work.
I didn’t connect this week like I had planned. There was time. I’d do it later in the week i said. But there wasn’t time later. I’ll get a great chance to connect with some of my work mates today and at our work Christmas party tonight. But that’s only once. I wanted more for this week.
But I didn’t put in the effort when the time was there. There were chances on Monday and Tuesday that I didn’t take.
I put it off.
Then life happened.
Then nothing happened because I didn’t do it.
I suppose my reflection on this week is the continuing realization that this stuff doesn’t’ just happen. That we need to make an effort. Purpose ourselves to love and be the people we are made to be.
Compassionate living is an amazing life. It’s full and deep, but it takes commitment and in this situation commitment is just another word for action.
Christmas is coming.
All the people.
All the family.
All the stress.
All the love.
All the loss.
All the memories.
All the travel.
All the time.
All the tension.
All the fun.
All the awkwardness.
All the stories.
Memories can be a tiring business.
Love is a tiring business.
People are a tiring business.
Christmas can be a tiring business.
Compassion is a very tiring business.
Get some rest…it’s coming.
Churches can be really insular places.
It’s counter intuitive to say the least. Churches should be one of the most loving, welcoming places in the world. But we all know that often that isn’t’ the case. There are so many reasons why church isn’t welcoming and we’re not going to fix them here. We’re not addressing structure here.
We’re addressing you.
There’s a strong perception with people I know who don’t attend church that churches are harsh spaces filled with judgment and cliques.
This week we’re going to work on that.
This week talk to a co-worker, neighbour, etc. you’ve never had a real conversation with before. Try to speak with them more than once. Go outside the norm of your relationships. Go outside the church.
You’d be surprised how many people don’t know a Christian or even worse don’t know a Christian they like. The only Christians they know are ones they want nothing to do with and we know all the reasons why.
No more cliques, no more inward focus, no more rampant judgement.
Love and grace will be our mark.
We will be transparent and honest.
We aren’t perfect and we won’t pretend to be, or have the answer to make them perfect.
We will connect with people where they are.
People will know us by our love.
So go connect in some new relationships. It’s very possible you’re the first loving Christian they’ve ever meet.