If I were to draw a line with “Strong Connection” on one side and “Totally Disconnected” on the other, this has been a week where I could put a dot on about every point.

Knowing this week’s word was Connect I’ve (shock shock) been overly analytic of my interactions as I’ve tried  to tune in to what’s helped me connect or disconnect.

Making connections

Exhibit A

Saturday I stood in a fairly long line at the pharmacy. Stepping up to the window I noticed the pharm tech had “I love football” on his name tag. And just like that a connection was made. I couldn’t help myself, I asked him what kind of football he liked, he lit up, and we were off and running (Sorry everyone in that long line, but its football, we must chat!).

It was one of those times it just clicked. You know what I’m talking about. Where there is no effort, the conversation ebbs and flows, and you leave it feeling you were seen and known.  It’s great when it happens with strangers, but even more so with friends or family.

I left the pharmacy smiling and the long trek to the very back of the crowded parking lot didn’t matter. I had football on the brain and a warm feeling in my heart.

Exhibit B

In an email an acquaintance gave a piece of advice. Not wanted advice mind you. And it was only one sentence.

Unlike the connection above, her advice jolted me like I had just touched a light switch and a bit of static electricity had built up. BAM!

It hurt. Do you think I’m so flipping dumb I hadn’t thought of that?!!!! You think that piece of sage wisdom is helpful in the midst of this mini-crisis?

She isn’t a close friend. We’re in a similar circle and I’ve never felt an easy connection with her. In fact, the email left me feeling disconnected from her.

{Here is an interesting side note on connection – I felt a shift, but I’d be willing to bet she never even knew how I felt. Very thankfully I was so annoyed I told myself not to reply to the email for at least 24 hours so that my initial witty replies that were pointed and not geared towards connection, could mellow and love could creep in).

She was missing crucial pieces of information regarding the mini-crisis. In fairness to her, she hadn’t been told. In fairness to common sense, remember there is always more to a story than you will know unless you are on the very inside.

Often when there is disconnection being unseen, misunderstood, or under-valued is the root.

Exhibit C

Connection is not as simple as plugging or unplugging in an outlet. No, our reality reflects a continuum.  I spent more of this week wondering what I’d write about connection. Willing myself to have something of value to add to the conversation. But little was coming. Just the word Connection blinking on and off like a neon sign in my brain. Connection…. Connection.…Connection.

Not much there.

Sometimes connections come by just showing up. I knew that I could show up here and say, “Look y’all, I want to connect with you, but I don’t have anything to offer.” And you’d show up in the comments and my little drummer boy offering would be met by you and you’d carry this one.

And that might be the biggest lesson

We can want to connect so badly that we try and force it or turn away out of fear that we’ll only meet disappointment. When the truth is somewhere in the messy middle. We need to realize we don’t have to have something to offer or sage advice or tons of time for life-giving connections to be made. But we do have to show up. Send the text, make the call, write the note, leave a comment, share something we’ve read with others. And the mere act of showing up can be all that is needed. Not perfection or a solution, but a traveling companion.

Have you experienced exhibit A, B, or C this week?

connect

Linking up today with Velvet Ashes’ The Grove. Word prompt: Connect

Photo credit Jake Mates via Flickr

Leave A Comment

  1. Sarah Skinner December 12, 2013 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    Yes, I experienced exhibit b this week. Sigh. That’s all. I’m here to experience exhibit c: showing up. I’ve found over the years if I’m in a hurry, I don’t notice opportunities to connect. I have to go slow. Connections take time. It’s like I have dial up. ;)

  2. Morielle December 12, 2013 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    Had an Exhibit C this morning. I needed to tell a friend a story. I knew it would be awkward, messy, and would require some apologies. I wasn’t sure if she wanted to hear the story, or if it would do much good to tell her, but I knew God wanted me to tell her. It was awkward. It was messy. She definitely slammed some Exhibit B comments in my face. But it turned out she was frightened of hearing the story for reasons I’d never imagined…. and in the end she was glad I told her.

    Before this conversation, I prayed a lot that God would help me say what needed to be said. I kept thinking about what God says to Moses after Moses brings up his insecurity about speaking up. God says, “Who gives speech to mortals? Now go….and I will be with your mouth.” I guess I imagined God being with my mouth would mean God helping me to say all the right things. He most certainly didn’t because I most certainly did not say all the right things. But God was definitely at work in that conversation, perhaps even most at work when I was most at a loss for words. Understanding new levels of how God delights in using weakness over here. I can’t do much with my presence, but I can stick my real awkward raw presence out there and see what God does with it.

  3. Mark Allman December 13, 2013 at 8:07 am - Reply

    Amy,
    I have several thoughts running through my head on connection. I don’t think it works very well by just plugging yourself in. Nothing may happen … the power my not be there. I do believe that might be what you have to do to start a connection. I think if a true connection is made it takes both parties willing to offer themselves up and to be vulnerable to the other. It is more like tying two pieces of rope together. Or maybe it is like playing doubles tennis. It takes both parties to make it work. Their commitment to doing their part and discipline will make that connection be the best it can be. Also knowing your playing partner has weaknesses and your willingness to work around those help to. In connections that are meaningful you have to do that to. Willing to learn their stories and willing to love their imperfections for they have to do the same for you.

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      Amy December 14, 2013 at 12:20 pm - Reply

      Mark, I think you’re right, these are helpful analogies! And sadly, as we know, sometimes when we know each others weaknesses and try to be sensitive to them we can still miss each other. Sigh. But then we remember when we DID connect and gently keep stumbling towards each other.

  4. emily thomas December 13, 2013 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    “In fairness to common sense…”
    That’s my new favorite way to start a sentence!

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      Amy December 14, 2013 at 12:18 pm - Reply

      Thanks … I wanted to be fair to her, but the more I thought about it, common sense was also on her side!

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