Today I met with my good friend Terry and we went for a coffee and a chat. We went to my normal morning cafe where I naturally engaged with a number of people, from the staff to a few of the customers. On our way back down the High Street a couple of other people spoke to me or said hello in a variety of ways.
Normally I would not have been so conscious of these interactions. My friends presence and reaction, however, reminded me that something amazing has happened and is actually continuing to happen in the High Street area. I only need to go back a very few months and I remember numerous times when I was close to tears due to the lack of pattern and engagement that I was encountering with the local community. I felt unrooted, disorientated, disposed of, but most of all isolated, and came incredibly incredibly close to simply stopping and getting a real job!
Things have happened so slowly and relationships have developed in small, often indistinguishable steps: a hello from the waitress has become ‘hello gorgeous’ (well … maybe that’s a big step!!!), a nod has become a handshake, a smile has become a ‘how are you?’, the ‘nice to see you’ has become a conversation about Thor being real and Jesus being fictional.
Interestingly, or maybe surprisingly, or even shockingly (!), in the main I have not noticed these developments at all …. until a friend offered to take me for a coffee on my familiar ground.
I guess this could be a bit similar to watching a child grow up. You see your beautiful son or daughter every day and do not notice the small changes in their height or facial features and all of a sudden you see a photo of them taken a year ago and think ‘whoah …. when did all that change happen?’ Today, being with my friend, has mirrored that exercise of looking at a 6 month old photo, and I’ve gone ‘whoah … when did THAT start to happen!’
The weird thing is that I know this stuff … the stuff that says although I need to work alone a lot of the time I need honest people around me to keep me on track. People who care enough to encourage and take time, people who love me enough to point out when I’m being a pratt and people who are don’t feel awkward or embarrassed about pointing out things that are good!
Although I need to work alone sometimes I can’t actually do this alone …. and yes I know I need Jesus but actually Jesus isn’t enough! I don’t believe that is a lack of faith thing (actually if we were to go down the scripture line I would need to point out the Trinity stuff …. I need the Creator and The Spirit too!) but more a reality of faith thing.
God is my inspiration and gives my ability and energy …. but Jesus is not always enough because I also need the people – the trusted and loved friends spoken of above, that Jesus has put around me. I don’t believe these relationships of trust are incidental. They are clearly, in my mid, divinely inspired.
I think when I was growing up in evangelicalism this type of thing was called ‘accountability’ …. well if that is what this is I’m pleased to be part of it.
Thank you 🙂