I’m not sure what the weather is like where you are, but here in Pennsylvania we’re in that period of time where it might (unexpectedly) hit 60 degrees one day, then be snowing with a solid coating of ice the next (current situation).
Because those of us living here are humans who tend to want to be warm, it means we spend a little more – or a lot more – time inside than normal. And that’s fine. Sure, we walk the kids to the bus stop and bundle up to get a little fresh air, but, for the most part, we spend our time inside (again – this is normal).
But as I was walking home from the bus stop this morning after a two hour delay I started to think about how much I “missed” my neighbors. Because of the aforementioned temperature swings, we had a gorgeous day on Monday and all had an impromptu cookout, so it’s not like we haven’t seen them in months, but, the comfy summer season that allows for weekly brunch gatherings outside, and regular conversations when we all have a dog out, or stop to get the mail and chat, just isn’t here… yet.
The exciting part is that it’s coming soon!
In fact, during Monday’s cookout, one of the neighbors referenced “brunch season,” that’s starting soon. That’s right – in this neighborhood we gather in driveways on Saturday mornings, have coffee, eat whatever casseroles or pastries show up, and spend the mornings together. Sometimes those mornings carry over to evening cookouts or marshmallow roasts. The kids ride their bikes, the parents hang out and we just enjoy each other.
These people – the ones we live around and do life with on the regular – are so much a part of our lives that we miss them when it’s been 4 days without face time.
It all got me thinking about how during our lives there are “seasons” of connections… times when it’s easier to connect and do life with others – and times when it’s just harder. Sure, in some cases it’s tied to the weather (and if you live in a cold winter state like we do, I’d encourage you to think about ways to really deepen relationships right where you live, especially as warmer months are coming), but, in other cases I wonder if it has more to do with what’s happening in our hearts.
This Week was Tough
In our family, we had an unexpected happening this week with one of the kids. It shook us and surprised us, and honestly, as a parent, it would have been easier to keep it to ourselves.
And yet, because of the connections we are so blessed to have, we shared what we could. We asked for prayers. We let people in. We sounded all the alarms and we let people step in.
In doing so, a situation that felt impossible 3 days ago, now feels relatively focused and on track, with resolution in sight. We feel supported and surrounded, instead of isolated, scared, and alone. I could argue that by really leaning into specific seasons – and places – of connection, the outcome of the situation is a vast improvement over what it would have been without the mutual “pouring into” that we do with those around us, and that we allow them to do with us.
It’s How We’re Wired
We’re not wired to live on our own islands, to shun the world when life gets hard, and to retreat.
We’re wired to connect, both as humans (think early hunter and gatherer cultures that knew their livelihoods depended on others), and as believers. In the Bible we’re told that we’re all gifted differently to serve as a single body. We’re shown how early believers did every part of life together, sharing everything they had as one to better support the whole.
Guys: don’t overlook the importance of this.
I’m an introvert. I love time at home. I love orderliness. My brain cannot function when there’s clutter around me.
I used to use those excuses to seclude myself from the people around me and to keep my thoughts to myself. ***not calling introversion an excuse. It’s a quality with AMAZING gifts behind it! But, we all have things we use to keep ourselves to, well, ourselves. Mine happened to be the way I was wired. Yours may be something different.
We aren’t wired to be open books that overshare… that’s also not what this is.
Instead, we’re beings that are designed to be able to connect with others – to share things that are important to us, to reach out when we need an arm up, to walk into hard situations and camp out to provide support, to know others, and to be known.
If it all sounds really great but you feel like you don’t have the opportunity to connect like that with others, I’d like to just take a minute to widen your view and encourage you. With warmer weather coming up, there’s never been a greater time to think about ways to connect with those around you… to take the time to sit on your front porch and say hi to the neighbor you see walking their dog a few times a day. To think about the activities you – or your kids – take part in, and think about inviting someone from those activities over for pizza.
These tiny baby steps could lead to a whole new figurative and literal season of connection in your life, which might be exactly what your heart needs today. When things feel crazy, sharing them with others might just be what helps turn it all around. Don’t overlook the importance of connection; start building, today!