This is an adaptation of a social media post from a couple of years ago that may or may not merit a replay.
Today I wore this purple pin to church. Before yesterday I didn’t know it existed. It belonged to a lady whose funeral I attended and her friends decided that a way to honor her memory would be to share her jewelry collection. Those present were invited to select a piece. Very moving.
It was one of those “deep” days. You know, the kind where you are at a baby shower in the morning and funeral in the afternoon and all sorts of “circle of life” thoughts and quotes from movies like, “People come and go so quickly here” swirl around in your head. (Thanks to Dorothy from Wizard of Oz.)
The idea that eventually took root and determinedly dogged me yesterday and all day today though was simpler than that. And maybe a little off topic. But it’s my rabbit trail so you’ll just have to get in line and hop along too. Here it is:
It’s important to show up at peoples’ stuff.
Whether you’re part of a faith community, a place of employment, a school, a family, a town, a bowling league, or a kazoo band . . . show up.
If you are invited or placed on a list it means you’re wanted and your effort to occupy a space is wanted and appreciated. It solidifies relationships. Strangers become less strange. Communities emerge as experiences are shared. Yesterday at a baby shower a young mother felt supported and later in the day grieving family and friends were undergirded with the strength of many, not just themselves.
These are confusing, difficult days in our world as we see events in the news that baffle our sense of “how” and “why” and “what’s next?” We come from different mind sets, yes, from many varieties of life experiences and cultures. But I’d wager we’d all like to see a shift in attitude and outcome. The atmosphere gets downright ugly on social media, stirring the pot of helplessness even more fervently. What then can we possibly, possibly do? Whatever will bring connectedness back from its shreds?
We can start by showing up.
Being there for one another.
Getting out of our safe places and taking seats next to people we are unfamiliar with and making effort, genuine effort, to pull their world a little closer to our own. Weaving community out of individuals. Showing up for each other. Attending stuff. Sitting in empty seats. Filling up rooms.
It’s true that because I am the spouse of a pastor I often occupy seats at functions and it’s also true that as a former young person with a bunch of kids at home that I well remember it was harder to do in those days. Maybe if I hadn’t been thrust into seats by spousal vocation (ha!) I may not have been to so many. HOWEVER, let me encourage you here and now to give it your best shot to do it anyway. In the long run your efforts will be worth it.
We need each other in this day. People are thirsty for connection.
People are craving connection.
People are dying to belong.
I know the young mom pretty well whose baby is about to be born and whose shower I went to, but I didn’t know Marilyn well and yet attended her funeral. I am the owner of her purple costume jewelry pin and I’ll wear it proudly, remembering this connection to her and the honor of gaining this small treasure.
If I hadn’t been in both of those seats yesterday, portions of my own tapestry would’ve gone unwoven. I’m glad they did not.
RSVP to that invitation. Say yes to a request. Invite. Scoot closer. Take some deep breaths and knock down the walls of your comfort zone. Do all that you can to get out there and show up to stuff. You’ll be better for it. So will they.
P.S. The baby was indeed born soon after this post and is a darling curly headed almost two-year old boy.<3
“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”
Matthew 18:20 NASB