I have been thinking a lot about my own thought processes as I engage in relationships. One of my greatest strengths is to be able to see, hear, perceive beyond peoples’ words to really understand what they are thinking and feeling. I can tell a lot about a person by his face, her voice, the way someone “is.” Because of this, I am often able to relate to others pretty well and put myself in their place. There are certain things that really stand out to me that for many would not be as obvious.
This morning in our men’s group, something was made clear to me. There was a moment in our conversation when we expressed our joy in our willingness to share who we are and the enjoyment of getting to know each other. I realized that getting to know who someone is takes such a long amount of time; his story, his patterns, her emotional responses, her struggles and joys. These things come through significant interaction, time spent together, deep conversations. Often times, who we are can be deeply impacting for those who take the time to figure us out. But few, get that significant time. And maybe none can ever understand who we really are.
It seems to me that there is something that is even more deeply transformational for people. That is, the WAY we are. The way we are tends to stand out immediately. Are we hurried or are we able to be with someone in the moment? Are we peaceful and relaxed or are we tense and preoccupied? Do we emanate with a love and openness that invites sincerity, or do we come across as closed and judgmental thereby inviting superficiality?
It is the WAY we are that gives the invitation for others to desire to know who we are. Truly, I think this is what most people got from Jesus during his three years of ministry. He was saying often who he was… but how could anyone possibly get it?!? They missed it most of the time… interesting that in the texts that we have he didn’t talk about being born of a virgin, that he was of the family tree of David, that he was born in a manger. How disappointing for him that no one could possibly understand the oneness that he had with God, something that he talked about a lot… And yet, people could tell something was different about Jesus because of the WAY that he was. It was profoundly different. Perhaps there is something to this.
I guess it is my hope with our emerging Gathering that we can not only celebrate who we are, but that something would be happening in us that would change the way we are. When this begins to change, our interactions with those around us will be changed as well. This is my hope personally as well… who we are is our own thing… but the thing that spreads through my own interactions with people is a way of being. This is what I hope to bring to the world… or maybe just Bend, Oregon.