Monday, November 1, 2010

Linked in Love

Tonight, my mind is trying to process the many conversations I've had, in several circles, lately. The commonality between them all is the fact that so much of what we make much of, really isn't. Human beings like hanging out with others that think like they do, walk like they walk, talk like they talk. It's a comfort thing, I suppose. We feel safe and validated, knowing that we are among friends. Within 'the bubble', we may begin to believe, simply by association, that our choices are the best...dare I say, the right ones.

The other side of the coin would be diversity. The concept of being multi-cultural within our circles of community, having different life experiences and gaining valuable perspective from one another. What does this look like? What is it supposed to look like? When it doesn't happen, when do we decide to walk away and find another group where we 'fit in' better? We've all been there: on the school playground, in churches, study groups, the workplace, the lunch room, our own homes. How is it that we can feel so isolated within the irony of community?

When I was younger, some of my friends would affectionately call me 'Lizard'. Kinda paints a reptilian picture in the mind, doesn't it? I would often respond to that nickname with my eyes rolling (LOL). Not one of my favorites, as you can imagine. However, in today's world, I will gladly answer to the call of Chameleon. Yes, the reptile that changes color within its environment. The blending in is not to simply fit in, and be unnoticed. No, rather, I see it as finding common ground--whatever that may be.

There is freedom in letting go of your own agenda. You become aware of what is important, and what is not. I enjoy being around different circles of community, so long as I feel welcomed. You can almost taste the disdain when you are not. I remember, not so long ago, when I thought that the way to 'make friends' was to inform people of what I thought about "stuff". These were my life experiences, were they not? Yes, but they were also opinions that sometimes communicated a different message than I had intended: "you are not doing it the right way".

Even in theological discussions, which can cause rifts among us, we have to come back to the foundation. And that is Jesus, of course. Sometimes the opinions we have, about secondary issues, can become barriers if we wear them like a uniform or badge(who do we work for?). A friend once told me, "we all stand the same height at the foot of the cross." No one is on tip-toe, there. At some point, I had to look at the relationships that were forming around me. What is more important? That this person do what I do, or think like me...or, that they are in my life? What would Jesus do, if he were me?

Love is on the agenda. What would that look like, every day? I think it would look something like the Olympic symbol of rings: each one of them, intersecting with another, crossing paths, individual and yet, interconnected. So we can have our circles of familiarity, but allow ourselves to reach beyond that--becoming a person of influence rather than merely a person of opinion.