TGIF with Ingrid
June 15, 2018
This one is coming to you a little late, but the thoughts have been brewing nonetheless – just haven’t had time to jot them down.
What I am Trusting
Tuesday was the final meeting of Coffee and Conversations that Matter, a monthly discussion group on things spiritual, held in the Whole Glow Café in Cumberland (who generously donates their space). This conversation was entitled “God Who?” or “What Are We Even Talking About When We Talk About God?” Folks gathered at 10am and 7pm for two very different conversations, based on who was there and what was on their hearts and minds for discussion. I am trusting this week that we humans have this deep yearning for connection – both with others and with something greater than ourselves. I choose to call that something greater God – which I know is a very loaded word for some. I believe that God so loved this world that God just had to throw some skin on and hang out with us for a while (that guy Jesus gives us a glimpse of what God is really about). I also have a keen sense of the God within and all around – the active presence of love, of urging towards life and justice and peace and goodness from deep within, and I call that the Holy Spirit. I trust that despite barriers of language, which can both help us and hinder us, the pull towards connection and love will ultimately be stronger than our fear.
What I am Grateful For
Risk. In these conversations, there were several moments where someone in the discussion took the risk of being real, of letting their true, vulnerable selves out into the room. And when they did that, it opened up the group in such a tender and beautiful way, allowing for others to engage in a more raw way. I am so grateful for the bravery and tenderness I was able to participate in over the course of this series and the connections so many have made that will carry on beyond these gatherings. I am grateful, too, that there has been so much positive engagement and encouragement in this series that we will pick it back up in the Fall!
What Inspires Me
Connected to what I am grateful for this week is what inspires me. I am inspired by the everyday courage of friends and strangers who risk loving out loud by sharing themselves and their passions in the world. It is a hard thing to love. It is an even harder thing to love out in public, through our sharing of self through words, through works of art or music, dance, and 1,000 more things. When we do this, it is almost like uncovering a wound that isn’t healed. We risk others sticking their fingers in it, we risk it getting dirty, we risk being sent away in shame for what is hidden underneath. And yet folks risk it. Everyday. All the time. I am inspired to uncover my wounds more often, trusting in the greatest love to overcome whatever the world may heave my way.
How I am Practicing My Faith
Through my yes and my no. In the evening conversation in Cumberland, there was some discussion about the ‘hey how are you,’ ‘fine,’ conversations we all have, multiple times per day, and, really, how meaningless ‘how are you’ has become. And how jarring it can be when someone answers truthfully with a ‘not great, my marriage is falling apart,’ or ‘my father is dying,’ or ‘my cancer is back.’ And that in that moment of risk (see above) we have the option to say yes or to say no. It is a split-second decision where we consider our to-do lists, appointments, other commitments, and our common humanity. Saying yes involves leaning in with a tender curiosity, entering a place of vulnerability with this person who had the courage to tell the truth and being fully present to them, allowing them to disrupt our carefully planned out lives. And the amazing thing about slowing down to say yes, yes I will make time for this because I believe we are both worth this, is that in our real, raw connectedness there is an electricity, a pulse, a holiness that exists within and between us that is rare and awe-some and life changing.
This is not to say that I am always great at the yes, because I have kids to pick up and dinner to make and a gas tank to fill up and and and…but I want to have, I am working to have, a life where there is some wiggle room. I am working towards a posture of yes because it has been my experience that God most often shows up in the most inconvenient interruptions by the least likely of people. And I would hate to inadvertently say no to God because of my own busy-ness (and sense of self importance!).