My mom and dad were recently on a cruise, and brought home some fantastic coffee, that when finely ground, makes a beautifully smooth dopio (2 shots of espresso). Cup in hand, and a buzz to follow…I post yet again.
My birthday was a few weeks ago, February 25th. That day brought me a mixed bag of feelings. On one hand, I was thankful to God that I was able to spend another year of my life, on this earth, with the woman he has blessed me with. On the other hand, it was a reminder that existence in this human form is not, necessarily, forever. At some point, this all ends.
While the work of moving is never fun, moving does bring with it a series of adventures and new opportunities for good memories. We weren’t able to bring both cars over, so I booked a flight back to Spokane to pick up our second car, and drive it over to Kent. This flight just happened to be on my birthday. I took along a book I’m trying to work through, quite slowly, by Alan Hirsch, and my iPhone- full of tunes and podcasts with which I planned to immerse myself into. Everything was working out to plan, until I sat in my seat on the plane.
Somehow, and for some reason, God wanted to get my attention. Next to me sat a woman who chose not to trade with another person so as to sit by her husband. Her reasoning is that he wasn’t going to talk to her anyway. ‘Warning Flags’ started waving frantically. She proceeded to tell me her thoughts on how now days, everyone plugs in their headphones, closes their eyes and tries to ignore everyone around them. “We don’t know how to talk to each other anymore!” She looked at me, holding my iPhone with the earbuds out in my lap, and said, “You probably want to just listen to that too.” At this point, Yes I did! And we hadn’t even pulled away from the gate yet!
I fought the urge to ignore her, and instead entered into an hour long conversation about anything and everything she could think of. I’m pretty sure I heard her life story. However, towards the middle, it started to get interesting. The topic moved into Religion. Her husband was into New Age, she had been raised Catholic – “but with all those priests doing things to little boys”…how could she believe them anymore? I told her that I was actually licensed as a Christian pastor, to which she stopped me, looked straight in my eyes, and said “I could tell.” Weird! I made a mental note not to put off that vibe anymore! Well, we had a good talk about life, about historical christian faith, about who Jesus was, what the church was supposed to be about, and ended up connecting her with a good church in Sandpoint.
While I was overly annoyed that I was unable to just listen to some music (that, and Horizon usually has good beverages but was overwhelmingly lacking on this flight), I was forced to engage a real person. She actually had a valid point. Most of us don’t know how to talk to each other anymore. For some Christians, the only reason they know their neighbor is in hopes to invite them to church. Is that really what Jesus meant by..”Love your neighbor as yourself?” I’m probably more guilty than most when it comes to real relationships. I find that I am more introverted than extro. It’s actually hard for me to hold conversations in a small setting. Jesus’ spirit is reminding me, this life doesn’t last forever here. He gave three commands, none of them included “Go to Church.” But Loving God with everything, Love my neighbor (physical/figurative) deeply, and Make Disciples who love him.
My encouragement to you, and to me, be willing to engage in conversation. Take off the headphones. Look away from the computer screen. Initiate a conversation that leads to sharing life.