Christians, Christians assert, are inherently not fully Christian unless they live in community among other believers. It is the practice of being in community that leads us to fully be (and become) who we are (and who we’re meant to be). We’re part of a single body, with varied capacities but a unified purpose. So it makes sense that you belong with other members of that body. Hands, feet, etc.
Widen the scope and it still works: Humans, too, become ever more human by the practice of being in community with other humans. A human in isolation has little hope of fully developing — we need to talk to, look at, study, love, be loved by each other to learn more of ourselves, in turn. The others are our mirrors and windows, shifting at different angles; they show us bits and shadows and sometimes, full-on reflections of who we are, who we would like to be, what we would like to avoid becoming.
And despite all the aforementioned glass metaphoring, our greatest moments of revelation lie in collisions against other humans (and the stormy circumstances of life-in-general that brew said collisions) that sometimes slice right through and reveal the pinky soft flesh of what we’re really made of, just beneath the manicured lawn of all our pretty surfaces.
And if the being among others — at work, in traffic, at home, and in the church — is an essential part of practicing the art of humanness, each day holds that much more meaning, promise. Each day is another day for practice toward becoming more and more refined as a human person. One more opportunity to collect against your 10,000 hours toward master human-ship.
I’m gonna try my best to go to work tomorrow morning with this in mind. That I’m going out into the world to practice my being among people, and to try my darnedest to do good job at this being (a good) human thing. That I won’t fear colliding into people and things but rather embrace those opportunities to learn a lil about myself, to peer into my pinky dermis and below, see what I’m made of, and grow from there. That it’s a gift to be appreciated and used well, not just squandered waiting for another Friday.
Fell into a big conversation about whether we would have followed through with killing the emperor or not.
At first, voted No because, Unification and Peace, yawl.
But then, realized that also goes hand in hand with #dictatorship.
So changed my mind, in favor of diversity and chaos. Mark had always voted Yes, but for (typically) different reasons.
He said, cause, family. Ten years. Promises. People who are relying on you.
I said, diversity. Freedom. Even though Chaos.
Big picture vs. individual story. It prevails again and threatens to divide our kingdom!!
Was riding on a veritable cloud nine until thoughts turned dark and I wondered if I enjoyed these conversations with the Cases so much just because they are right at that level of interesting—small enough to be graspable, big enough to scratch that brain itch. Maybe it’s all just an ego trip.
Or maybe it’s just a break from the humdrum, Mark said.
Today began as a mess of feelings — cranky about Mark’s tardiness, confused about how to plan for the Future (capital F), feeling preemptively tired and a little lost in the sea of small talk I’d have to navigate at church today.
Added to the mess as the service unfolded — unsettled about the state of my heart + God, even more confused about how to plan for that Future, still tired and lost-feeling about the sea. Throw in a dash of guilt in there, too, for feeling all of the above.
Today ended as a mess of feelings — sorry for the undue crankiness, grateful for the pause-y conversations with company to call “family away from home,” awed to receive yet another lil celebration for a birthday already a week and a half old, joyful to have a slice of scratch-made cake to come home to.
there are spheres of life in which you feel at ease, totally in your own skin, and open to newness because you’re okay with all the right-now atoms in your current atmosphere. and then there is everything else, which is the majority of life. at least for me, right now.
but those spheres, they are so good. and they exist in the weirdest, randomest places. walking the halls at work for a clear-the-head break, arms a-swinging like the Cake song and teef a-smiling at the unknown peoples because they’re unknown to me; there’s no risk (there’s freedom in smiling at strangers). sweatpants life, veg-ing out at homehome, visiting for the weekend having brought real clothes but teebee.H. not needing them at all, all weekend long. blog mode at a cafe where the temperature is not too cold not too warm just right and zoning in on not to cold not to warm just the right words even though there are other, Real things to be done, and feeling so accomplished at the end of the thought train, at the bottom of the latte cup, zero of the said Real things having been accomplished. phone conversations with really helpful customer service repuhresentatives, knowing what you mean by your uncertain blabbering because they’re just that experienced in customer blabber-needs. spending way too many minutes perusing all the things I won’t buy up and down the aisles of the korean grocery store where I buy my weekly kale because produce is freshest there (huzzah for kale, huzzah for nova groceries).
and running into my mom’s friendladies and saying hello, no hesitation, because I feel able and natural. and getting impromptu shares of life wisdom from an older and wiser soul who’s brimming with it, only needing to be tapped, to be asked.
but honestly, it’s not even the content of such conversations — rather the context. what makes these moments possible. that sphere of ease. that comfortsphere. where you’re open to impromptu conversations with acquaintances that aren’t even yours, but your mom’s. knowing full, knowing well — smalltalk is not your strongsuit. going out of your way uncalculatedly to call out to people and open up your bubble to touch theirs, connecting for a moment or two.
what is it that creates these spheres of possibility? I have a feeling it’s something really specific: two heaping cups of really good nights’ sleeps. a liter of contented conversation stores. a mindful of vocab in that (un)foreign language you’re delighted to be discovering, again. three generous drizzles of chocolate frosting over that birthday cake baked at 375, for-ty8 minutes. those two bunches of bananas someone placed in the back of your car so you wouldn’t even have a chance to refuse them when offered. an extra day of rest from the running schedule, because your body — and your mind — needed it though you weren’t even clever enough to know it until you’d had it. eighty-three miles of road driven, harmonizing all the way with singers on your iPod loop loop looping all these years you never updated your music stores.
how interesting to organize the experience of Life this way — it’s just a practice in negotiating these spheres and the rest. just a long series of navigations in between, from circle to amorphous circle. and the resolutions, the lessons, are to:
expand these comfortspheres, each and all, until they’re the majority and the “restofit,” the exceptions.
find out other people’s spheres of ease and discover them in living in theirs. observe. appreciate. smile aloud, teef and all.
test and exactify that recipe for sphere success — so you can do numbers 1 and 2 better and better. this will probably take some more days off from the relentless schedule of working out and making lunch salads because you’re still only a young padawan (what even is a padawan? why do I use these words I don’t really know?), the greenest grasshopper, and apparently you can’t run and think at the same time. at least not to the same level of intensity. one’s gotta give way to the other.
get better at running, so you can think more.
get better at thinking, so you can run more.
wow. lots to do here. guess I better go get some more sleeps to get started.