Community in Action August 29, 2020

So this morning I was thinking of unfinished conversations. I don’t mean the ones where the conversation is interrupted and doesn’t restart when you are at a small gathering, pre-covid. I also don’t mean the ones where the topic gets a little sensitive and the conversation gets diverted or redirected because others are getting uncomfortable (kind of like some political discussions I have been around recently).

    I mean the ones where someone tells you something about themselves which is revealing or is rarely shared and you don’t keep listening. Maybe you aren’t sure what to say when all you had to say was “Tell me more” in a sensitive manner.

    There have been times when the conversation I have been having is a normal conversation and then someone tells me about a concern they have and I don’t ask them to continue. Or perhaps I respond with an empathetic comment and the say see ya later.

    Recently coming back from a walk I noticed a front yard that had been thoroughly spruced up. I told the lady out front that it looked really nice. She said it was her uncle’s home. I said that was nice and walked on.

    This comment of hers was nothing truly revealing except I could have asked her if she was just visiting and if her uncle was doing okay. You see this yard had not been taken care of for a number of years. I noticed every time I walked by that is was pretty much dirt and small weeds. Now, it had new turf put down, flowers were around the edge of the house, and it was very attractive. This usually means a new owner or it is going on the market soon.

    You say that is a bit of a stretch, well true, but I also remember seeing a packet of medicinal marijuana in the street gutter a couple of years ago in front of that house. So maybe my imagination is running away with me, but I thought if her uncle was ill and now we see an uptick of yard work being done perhaps she is here caring for him or even he died.

    Sometimes I feel prompted by the Spirit to listen better when someone is talking because they have a concern for which I can pray. Sometimes I see someone shedding a tear, alone, upset, and looking for comfort. Like the time I was commuting by train to work (a long time ago) and I saw a young woman crying a few seats away. I plucked up my courage and asked her if she was okay.

    She tearfully said yes, smiled, and then said she just had a fight with her boyfriend, but she would be okay. I actually carried my bible visibly with me so she wouldn’t think I was just trying a pick up line on her.

    Why don’t we step out of our comfort zone and ask people we see worried or frightened or unsettled if they are okay or they need help? I know it is not in my nature, I am afraid they would think I am butting into their life or I am trying to befriend them so I can get something from them.

    Instead normally I say a prayer and ask God to help them how ever they need it. Yet sometimes I have that nudge that I should try to begin a conversation. Or perhaps if a conversation already has begun and they share something of concern I need to encourage them to continue.

    We aren’t on this planet alone and we are surrounded with people who need a friend or at least see a friendly face. I am going to try this week to be more empathetic and try to listen more and maybe even step out on a limb and ask someone if they need someone to talk to when the conversation turns sensitive, even through a mask.

    Seeking to follow the nudges of the Spirit more often with you,

    Pastor Randy

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