There are those special times in life I simply want to savor. Enjoy the moment without rushing on to the next thing that needs to be done.
Most of those times have to do with people.
We’ve come to the end of another year of our program. We’ll be launching these dear people into their next steps and preparing to receive another group of people in the not-too-distant future.
Everything will begin again.
I hate goodbyes.
Not real goodbyes, as in “I may never see you again this side of heaven”. But the kind where life changes and someone won’t be part of my life like they had been. It’s been a season of quickly and deeply growing together as people, co-workers. Friends.
I’m not change adverse. I love the idea of variety and new. When something is refreshingly different and out of the ordinary. Not expected.
But with people, I love permanence. Folks getting to know one another beyond the surface. When others feel safe enough to let me in their hearts, feeling comfortable sharing themselves. Having the willingness to take time to hear who I am.
We’ve had that this year.
Our end-of-the-year breakfast was an opportunity to reflect on the big picture of what we’ve been through. Where 51 people began as strangers, from different countries, cultures, stories, and morphed into a family. One of those fun families with the quirky aunts and uncles, where each is remembered for their own sweet peculiarities.
Our emcees, Adam and Colleen, were stellar at creating awards to honor our idiosyncrasies. To recognize everyone as somebody worth knowing. They purchased little trophies which, in their explanation, looked like a cross between an Oscar and C3PO.
Each person in our program was awarded a mini robot-oscar for a trait that was them. Much of it was goofy–like the best boar hunter among us. (Yes, we do have wild boar here that are legal targets.) Or the best Robin among all people and birds around us. (Yes, her name is Robin.)
Everybody was honored. No one was left out. Who we are–in our messy attempts at doing life with others, in our clumsy way of caring for people–was recognized in a fun way.
That is special.
People can go through their whole lives without feeling a sense of worth or value from others. Without feeling known or understood or seen. To be recognized for anything positive–even as silly as a little shiny gold plastic statue–matters.
We need to know we matter. God says we do, but little else in this world identifies us as worthwhile. Our socio-economic status doesn’t give us value. Neither does the quality of our social media presence.
Our relationships say more about us than anything. How we engage and care for other people, how we celebrate our differences and enjoy our uniquenesses is more defining than many other areas of life.
The most significant relationship being the one with God.
Relationships matter because people matter.
My happy thought–heaven has no time constraints.