29 July 2014

Post and Panel

The Pastor at my church recently talked of life as a fence (starting at 21 minutes).  There are turning points, milestones, and those are like the posts of a fence.  Few and far between.  After every post comes a season of walking out that choice, or waiting, or the beginning of a new adventure.  These are the panels.  He said our lives are a series of post, panel, post, panel, post, etc.  We move from one major decision to the in-between to the next overwhelming circumstance to the waiting and so on.  Ups and downs.  Starts and stops.  Post, panel, post, panel, post...

Recently I had an experience that I haven't walked through in several years.  Watching the scene unfold was watching a post be placed in my life.  Milestone.  Turning point.  A day you always remember.  I was in shock and filled with joy.  To watch myself walk this road again, it was like a dream, only better.

I have spent many moments since pondering my last post.  Years ago, when the previous post was driven into the ground, who was I then?  Who am I now as I watch the new post settle into place?  What have a learned these past few years?  How have I grown?  Am I more mature?  More settled?  More bold?  If the panel had never existed, if there was post after post, what would I have missed?  How has my view of God widened/deepened?  Am I rooted?  Was I rooted back then?

I agree with Pastor, we only get a few moments in life to look back and accurately see our journey.  To have a mountain-top perspective on our lives is rare.  But when it comes, as it did for me a few weeks ago, I want to be ready. I want a dazzling view. I want to see a more whole me.  I want to see changes for good.  I want to be assured that my work is worth it.  I want to know that I am not the same today as I was yesterday.  

I am grateful for a opportunity to be encouraged by this perspective and experience.  I know they are both special and profound.  I can only pray that when my next post comes, the view behind me will be just as stunning.

16 July 2014

Me Too

Relocation means making new friends.  Obviously.  Another shocker.....this is neither an easy nor natural task for me.  I am challenged daily to engage in that awkward surface level conversation with strangers.  Even though I find it all very draining, this is how you begin again.  Thankfully I have found wonderful people and that helps ease the awkwardness.  

As I re-learn friendship establishing techniques, I have been frequently reminded of the most powerful words in the relationship dictionary.  These words are: "ME TOO".  

As people share their lives, experiences, opinions, and beliefs, a simple Me Too helps create a foundation of common ground.  Me Too tells them you're not only hearing but understanding.  Me Too means that their story is safe with you because it's your story as well.  Me Too invites familiarity into the conversation and exiles judgement.  Speaking Me Too plants seeds for growing a friendship.

As often as I can, I try to use my Me Too tool in conversation.  Typically there is something that is relate-able if I am willing to listen intently.  Joining in with another on their journey is one of the richest and deepest connections we have to others.  If you are bold enough to step out of your story and join in with them.  Although I often search for the Me Too moments, the risk of saying those two words is enormous.  Even silencing at times.

It takes courage to expose your self with Me Too.  It takes a willingness to be put out there.  Me Too isn't easy, but it is worth it.  Worth the awkward pause in conversation.  Worth the leap into the unknown.  Worth it.