People of Intentional Connection
My church has a hosting team where a group of members make a commitment and point to connect with new comers and other members of the church. We recently hosted a gathering led by my parents-in-law in our home and it was a special time. It felt effortless, but it was a time of good intentions.
The age group ranged from 1-64. This group was able to gather, connect, and relate while enjoying bagels, coffee, and tea.
It's amazing how connection can happen and start. It takes an invitation, a location, an intentional setting, normally with food or drinks served -- you've got to feed your guests. There was a time when we couldn't afford to host others in our home, it was even a challenge for us to have enough food for ourselves to last a full week. We put invitations on hold until the Lord provided with the opportunity to feed, serve, and commune. The Lord knew the desires of our hearts and that we were willing. I am so thankful that He has given us the abundance of food and grace to host others in our home today.
I see so many beautiful faces when I walk around my neighborhood. A lot of them may be buried on their phones or staring down on the ground, but I can't help but look at them. I love to admire others and just see how human they are. They laugh, they smile, they yell, they sigh; we're all the same. I'm reminded that Jesus died on the cross for them, He loves them; God created them and spent time with them while they were in the womb. We were all created in the same kind of space, and we all have a special longing inside of hearts for connection.
Photographer Dafydd Jones shoots parties and he was recently quoted saying, "...people would rather interact with their phones than with the other guests." Why is that? Why do we prefer the view rather than the experience?
It gets harder to connect as you get older. You really have to put yourself out there to find connection. When you're a student you and your classmates are forced into a space and assigned work that may or may not be completed together. You have something in common already, and you may find other ways to connect because of that starting point. As an adult, we all choose different paths for careers and people from different backgrounds connect over assignments, but sometimes they don't want to be there and so they focus on the task and want to move on to their lives. Electronic devices aren't just a vice for children; adults depend on them to avoid discomfort, embarrassment, rejection, vulnerability.
At the event in our home not once did I notice any of us pick up our phones. There was an understanding that we all wanted to connect, we needed to connect. It was an open forum to share about ourselves and even talk about silly things.
We have this longing, this void in our hearts, a longing for a friend, a longing for partnership. It's important to be strongly connected to someone. Sure, you have things in common with people, but who can you turn to to share life experiences with?
We are all such beautiful people. We realize we are not alone in things when we just talk and actually share something with substance. You struggled to put food on the table for dinner last night? A friend has been struggling for weeks! You get a box of food from a family member? Now you know who to share it with! It's not just about being vulnerable for the sake of being vulnerable. It's not to have the thought "I put myself out there this month, I don't need to follow up anymore." You put yourself out there and grab the hand of the person next to you and you continue to walk forward together. You make new memories, you grow, you learn more about yourself as you relate to others.
We're all getting older, but we don't have to be in the same patterns and routines. Let others interrupt your calendar, make space for relationship.
How do you create the space for connection?