Friday, January 15, 2010

It all begins with hello or My Epic Fail

There are not too many things in life more regretful than missed opportunities.

This morning I went to Canadian Tire, to get one of my tires replaced before my road trip to Delaware on Monday.  The mechanic took my car in at 10:30, so I made myself comfortable in their posh waiting room, sinking myself into one of the large leather chairs, placed in front of the fireplace and big screen TV. There were three other people, 2 men and a woman in the room as well.  As I sat there, looking straight ahead at the TV, not saying a word, I found it interesting that here were 4 individuals stuck in a room with nothing to do, yet no one was saying a word.  I toyed with the idea of opening with Hello, but I didn't.  I just sat there thinking how silly it was that none of us, would engage the other.  I sat there, in my chair the whole time, realizing that if I would just start a conversation perhaps, one of us would leave impacted in ways we never imagined when we awoke that morning. Ashamedly, I exhibited an issue many of us suffer from - we think to much and do to little. I have no other way to explain this missed opportunity to enter into relationship except to say it was an EPIC FAIL on my part.

Some may say that I am being a bit over dramatic.  That I am making a mountain out of a mole hill.  The truth this incident merely revealed the symptoms of  a larger problem. As I drove away in my newly re-tired, the following three lessons became painfully obvious.

Call it intimidation or call it fear but whatever it is that keeps us from doing the thing, that we know we should - will cripple us and rob others.  I can not deny that I knew what I should do, but I was intimidated.  I was afraid of how I might be perceived by others, worried about offending someone or interrupting them in their silence.   In that moment I failed to trust God who says in Isaiah 41:10 "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Logically and spiritually I knew what to do and, yet as I battled it out in my mind, I remained silent in my chair, till I left, without a goodbye.

Social Justice starts with being social.  You can't isolate yourself from society and expect to make a difference in someone's life, let alone change the world. Entertaining a party of one helps no one.   We were designed as relational beings. We are created to be in relationship with God and others.  From the very beginning God said "it is not good for man to be alone" Gen 2:18. This is not just about marriage.  Just as God enters into relationship with us He desires that we enter into relationships with others.  Our capability for virtual connectedness continues to increase exponentially with the introduction of new technology, though it appears that it has been to the hindrance of  actual real live interaction. So the hands of Jesus are kept snug in the safety and warmth of our proverbial pockets, while our feet remain planted in the comfort of our homes, even our mouths seem disabled, as we connect more through the aid of "Qwerty". We watch the devastating news of tragedies unfold on TV so that we are socially aware, we mind our "P's" and "Q's" so that we are socially correct, we set our hearts on climbing the social ladders and yet we do this, often at the sacrifice of being socially just.

The opportunity to make a difference will meet you right where you are at.  Every day in a myriad of simple and profound ways we're invited to step into the life of someone and offer encouragement, hope comnfort and more.  God desires to use us to make a real impact in the lives of others, and so, He brings us to places where we are encouraged to engage one another.  "As God brings people across our path, we are changed by them and we are used by God to shape and change others" Jesus has the power to change lives!  We can change cities and countries - one life at a time.
It all begins with Hello!

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