Lingering and The Butterfly Effect
Butterflies. They’re pretty. The zoo near my folks place has an indoor butterfly garden that I just love. These incredibly delicate flying things. Metamorphosis is alone incredible. I really do enjoy them. They flutter around, looking for more food, cross pollinating for the betterment of crops, forests and wild flowers. They are beautiful. The normal life expectancy, on average, for a butterfly is around two weeks. As beautiful as they may be and flutter from here to there, they don’t live long.
Though I am an extrovert, I fall just over the extrovert/introvert line on the scale. I love to be in front of crowds and parties but in order to recharge I need solitude. Throughout high school and college, even into my early professional years, I was a social butterfly. Fluttering from here to there, trying to be as much apart of what was going on as I could. But I never fully committed to one group of people, one small group of friends. Fluttering around is ok, but eventually it will burn you. It isn’t sustainable. It isn’t something that will give you life, but in fact, will take it from you. Lingering, staying, eating well, drinking well, resting, loosing track of time…these are aspects, if done in moderation, of living a life in community. These are characteristics of living life, not just surviving it.
This past week we were able to host three professionals in the coffee world in the States. They came here to help in training our staff as well as a conference we were putting on. The conference, a huge success and the first of it’s kind here, was wonderful as we sought to build community amongst the coffee world here. Everyone who attended both vendors and the general public alike, thanked us for putting on such an event. I am incredibly thankful.
As a way to get away from the busyness that has consumed us the past several weeks, and a way to enjoy being with our three guests, we headed out to the countryside, to a national park to spend the night in a ger (yurt). Huddled in a 5 bed, one room ger with a single fluorescent light bulb and one wood burning stove in the middle, we were able to talk and just be. Talking about life, great “successes” and great “failures,” family whom we were all missing at the moment, praises and petitions, community was happening. This is where spiritual formation takes place. Moments of vulnerability, raw honesty and truth are where bonds are formed and where trust starts to be built.
I’ve had moments like this with my kids, with Iris, with friends both next door and thousands of miles away. This kind of community is something of great sacredness and holiness. Well, at least to me. I think of Jesus and when the disciples seemed to have the deepest, sometimes hardest truths of God. Some were in public sermons Jesus preached. But, it seems to me, that most of those times were sitting around a table, resting after a hike, gathered around a fire on the beach, in a garden, lingering just a little while longer with each other.
Communities aren’t developed or made when people are busily buzzing from one place to another. They are created in times of great patience, great graciousness given to each other mutually. A few years ago, I was struggling hard with trying to ascertain where it was that God may have been leading us as a family. We knew we were leaving one city, and perhaps a country to move somewhere else, but didn’t know where. I was frustrated, angry, hurting and wanting answers so I would feel stable. But I’ve talked about stability before in a few places.
In a group made up of some of the best leaders in the Church in the States and Canada, we went around sharing what God had said to us during this, one of 4 two week long residentials we would spend together over the course of two years. I had been struggling with not knowing where God wanted us…my first ever Dark Night of the Soul. With tears filling my eyes (not entirely uncommon for me), I yelled “I know what God has for us 20 years from now. But, as to our next steps….I don’t know. I ask, and I hear nothing. I seek and haven’t found anything. I just want Him to show me my next footprint damn it! I just want Him to show me what is next and tell me what the hell is going on!”
My community simply sat, in sacred holy silence watching as God did work in my life. No cliches, no comforting words (though those who speak them usually are only trying to comfort the person uncomfortable with silence, not the one who is hurting). And it was this same community that I would sit with again, six month later in the same circle, thanking them for allowing God to work, sharing with them about where we knew God was leading us. Had I been fluttering instead of lingering, I may not be where I am today. I may not be the person I am today. I pray that we stop the busyness of buzzing around from thing to thing, group to group, person to person and …just………linger. Linger with a few. Linger and lounge and converse and sit with people who are being honest and raw. Those who give life. In community.
be blessed today
Have you found yourself to flutter around? Have you gotten out of that demand of the world? Have you found community? And do you linger in it’s life givingness?
photo credit: http://oddnygumaer.com/2014/10/