People are lonely.
In this difficult time in our cultural life people are afraid. They need to talk, to connect. They tell me this. But, for many, the connections aren't there.
And so the loneliness feels like a suffocating isolation.
I had breakfast with a friend today. Someone I really like. I trust him. There were some things on his mind. I listened. There were things on my mind. He listened. We talked. No solutions. But I walked away feeling connected. It was friend to friend and man to man. Straight talk, I thought. Feeling talk and content talk.
It wasn't the sharing of mere opinion. That's too shallow. But I wonder how many people settle for the sharing of opinion...where there's no real listening, no feeling level stuff, no content beyond mere blabber? No wonder we're lonely.
I don't have the answer to loneliness. Wish I had a magic potion we could all take. My experience tells me that most people don't know how to do this 'relationship' thing so that it moves beyond shop talk, small talk, sports talk, and gossip. It's a set of skills some have never learned, others don't apply and a skill set many don't seek after. So, people settle and embrace the isolation even when they're with people they call friends.
God's blessed me. My wife is my best friend. She listens and cares. I have more than a few people I can be real with ...when I choose to do so. All too often I choose not to.
Last night 25 people were at our home. It was an Israel trip reunion. Some I've known for awhile. Quite a few are new in my life. I'm thinking today about why God brought them into relationship with me. Is there a next step I need to take with some of them? Or them with me? Or is the trip and the reunion all there is?
So, I'm thinking a lot about relationships. Is it true we are created for community? If we are has God gifted me to be a catalyst for authentic community where people move towards each other in ways they never before imagined? I already know the answer to that question. He has. But do I want to embrace that gifting and notch it up, living into its potential? That's a harder question.
And that gets me thinking about you. Some of you who read what I write are under-utilized for kingdom purposes. You could stir the pot of relationship, real and authentic. If indeed, our world is changing (and I think it is) we will need pot stirrers and catalytic leaders who step out connecting others to the possibilities God lays before us. Some of you are gifted in this area. No doubt about it. Do you want to embrace that gifting?
Thinking about all this scares me a bit. I've shared previously in other posts that sometimes I find comfort in the ruts I've carved out for myself. I find comfort but not satisfaction. The satisfaction will only come when I know I'm fully aligned with God's purposes for my life. Even when that means discomfort.
People are lonely. I've had too many phone calls, lunches, and e-mails recently where the message comes through loud and clear ..."I can't do this alone anymore."
So, I'm just thinking and praying and writing about and wondering ...and if you're reading this and you're feeling something stir in you ...maybe you should be thinking, praying, journaling, and wondering about what God is bringing to life in you. Let me know what you're thinking.