Life takes us into and out of the spaces and moments of other people in the most fascinating way...
I am just beginning to recognize the sacredness of interacting with people - participating with them in the moments that define their characters and stretch their limits and grow their hearts - crying with them when the heaviness of it all spills out in a blessed grace-filled saltwater-y release and laughing at the Hope that prevails in spite of tremendous darkness.
In just the past few weeks I have sat with wives who question the strength of their marriages, reminded numerous people of their amazing strength and resolve in the face of ongoing struggles, said goodbye to a friend who chose to take her own life, reassured a dear new friend that God is for her and loves her even as she struggles to define how her affections will impact who she will choose to be and how she lives out her days, helped someone make a life-altering decision in light of God's grace and mercy, knowing it would impact her in ways she never imagined.
Deep struggle laid on the table - faced squarely with another soul - looking deep into eyes heavy with tears - admitting I have at best weak solutions but still offering my ears and my companionship and my shoulder and my prayers.
That's really what 'life-together' comes down to - what community is about. That quiet and gentle 'being' together in the midst of laughter and in the depths of sorrow and everywhere in between.
What an incredible honor it is to be trusted in this way. To shower love and acceptance and empathy and commitment to another human being - to say "I will walk with you" and mean it - and be allowed into that space - it is what life is meant to be, I think.
It doesn't always come easy. The part of me that tends to inwardness can sometimes be resentful of the neediness of others. And yet every time I respond in a way that goes beyond myself, I am rewarded with an incredible sense of 'right-ness'. That this is how we are called to live. To give ourselves away to others self-sacrificially... that in giving we receive.
I receive an indescribable beauty that could never be manufactured. The beauty that lies within every soul. The powerful and awesome 'In His Image" that we all possess - revealed in honesty and openness and vulnerability.
That is the gift. To see the face of God in another person... to 'entertain angels unaware...'
This is how I am blessed to give.