I *thought* I knew what I was going to write about today, then I read this sermon by Marc Alan Schelske. And so you're reading this instead. :)
Marc is another hero of mine. I stumbled across him on Twitter many months ago and have been following him ever since. I love him for his passion and openness, and real-time grappling with how to be a follower of Jesus in today's world. I'm not really a Christian myself, by most definitions, but it doesn't matter when it comes to his words. Marc speaks the language of love and grace beautifully, and I'll take messages like that from wherever they come.
In his piece he talks about having just gone through an exceptionally tough month, with lots of fear and uncertainty, feeling stuck and reactive and alone, unable to bring forth the best of himself. And then the most minuscule of gestures started to bring him out of it: the encouraging note from a friend on Facebook, the email from a reader who had been deeply touched by something he'd written -- people reminding him of who he is, that he matters, and that he is not alone.
Can you relate to the need to hear those things from time to time? I certainly can. When I'm feeling down it's so easy to get trapped thinking that I'm the only one, that it's my fault, that if only I were ______ enough (smart, kind, patient, savvy, whatever), I wouldn't be confused and suffering. But it's just not true. Confusion and suffering come with being human. We are all in this crazy situation together, and we don't have to feel alone.
I started hosting card-writing gatherings a few months ago as an opportunity for people to remind each other that they are loved, appreciated, and not alone. Whether it's to say thank you, offer condolences, provide encouragement, or just let someone know you're thinking of them, a card can be powerful. When I send cards, sometimes they make a big difference for the other person, and sometimes they don't, but the act of doing it always makes a difference to me. And that, in itself, makes it worth it.
If you're in the Boston area, there are card-writing gatherings coming up on Jan 9, Feb 13, Mar 12, Apr 9, and May 14, and I would love for you to come. But they are also easy to host yourself, wherever you live, and I'm happy to provide tips and encouragement if it's something you'd like to try. Just email me.