She approached our group nervously, a newcomer. Spotting her early, I moved towards her and smiled. ‘Are you looking for our walking group?’ Somewhat relieved, she answered, ‘Karen?’ Five minutes later she was absorbed in conversation with her new companions. By the end of the event, eyes shining, she volunteered how she loved the whole experience and would be back next time. Moments like these never fail to strike joy to my heart.
Recently, I had the privilege of meeting a young man who deeply desired to become a Dad, despite having no current partner. The surrogacy process involved was long and very difficult. I was moved by the details and felt privileged to hear of his unusual decision and journey. Seeing the delight in his eyes as he held his baby, became my joy as well.
Each one brought their natural elements to the table with their own stories of appreciation, of loss, and of hope restored. The depth and variety of their reflections amazed me! Here were honest stories, gently offered for us to hold with respect, some raised to God too.
These are just a few examples representing the joy found by people sharing life together. There is something unique about shared moments of joy that defies rational explanation. From my perspective, God inhabits these encounters, and they enliven my spirit. These connections are sensed with the ‘heart’, and sometimes an exuberant light can be seen in people's eyes. I believe we are designed to be in community – bringing joy to each other with our genuine sharing. When God is felt to be present, it brings an even richer dimension.
Loneliness is the lack of such interactions, especially when their absence is felt. It’s always a challenge to enter a new group of people. Life contains many risks and we need to embrace them to enable positive changes in our lives. If you feel lonely, is there an activity you would enjoy doing with others? Or could you encourage someone to find new friends by accompanying them somewhere new? I am willing to help you connect with other people. Lane Cove Community Chaplaincy host intentionally safe activities where newcomers are welcomed. Or maybe I can help you begin something else you enjoy instead. Meeting you and hearing your story, will be my privilege, and hopefully a blessing to you too. Contact me to make that connection.
The articles here are currently written by Liam McKenna, Lane Cove Community Chaplain.