There’s a coffee shop in Orlando that a friend introduced me to several months ago. It’s become my favorite hangout where I’m able to meet with people in a safe environment and enjoy face-to-face interaction.
The owner, Vanessa, celebrated a birthday a few weeks ago. She decorated her place with beautiful pink and white flowers with accents of gray, white, and pink balloons. In front of her shop, she had an old phone booth bedecked with the same pink and white flowers.
Phone booths always remind me of connecting with people; they seem so much more intentional than a cell phone because you had to purposefully find one to be able to use it. With all the flowers filling this particular phone booth, it gave me a sense of how special the conversations were that happened inside. Interactions were full of life and beauty. People connecting at deep levels providing a fragrance of togetherness that filled the shop.
We were made to connect.
A friend shared a comic a while back, showing a panda walking with a tiny dragon hitching a ride on his back. “Which is more important,” asked the Panda, “the journey or the destination?” The tiny dragon answered, “The company.”
We’re all part of this journey called life, and we don’t travel alone. We’re surrounded by people who touch our lives in a variety of ways; how we receive those exchanges defines our relationships.
It’s the relationships that give substance to our journey. The company we keep can make our journey pleasant and purposeful or difficult and disruptive. It’s not just the people themselves but how we choose to treat those who are part of the adventure by their proximity and purpose.
We are eternal beings created by an eternal God, and this seventy-odd year excursion here is the prologue of what’s to come. We make choices here that influence what and where our eternity will be.
People are part of that. They influence us with who they are, the sincerity of their character, how they treat us as individuals. Jesus knew that when He came to show us God; everything He did and said supported the truth of who He was. How He treated people reflected His passion for us. He asks to journey with us, bringing us to a destination of eternal hope with Him.
He has surrounded us with many who could teach us, people different from us who can help us understand the bigger picture. We need to encourage the conversations, not shut them down with anger and bitterness. Many will disagree with us; listening to them may give us a window into their stories and a deeper appreciation for their journey. Those who agree with us could be asked deeper, more insightful questions to better understand them.
We need to learn to value the companions we’ve been given; they may not always be the ones we’d choose, but often they’re the ones we need. The gift of people given us by God isn’t something we should take lightly.
We’re meant to journey with companions. Choose people who will push you to be a better you.
Connecting–it’s the way we need to roll.
Coffee is always better with company.