I was up and out on my morning walk early, around 6:30 a.m..  Its nice and quiet that time of morning, as well as much cooler than in later morning and afternoon.  Almost every morning there is an older woman who passes me, who is always so cheery and bubbly.  “Good morning!” She says with a twinkle in her eye.  I always respond with a subdued “good morning” as we pass one another.  I said she’s older, she might be 10 years or so my senior, but just as perky and full of life as you can imagine.  As we approached each other this morning, her smile broadened and she said her usual greeting, but then added a question, “what’s your name?”  I said, “Tom,” and she said “I’m Mickey!”  We smiled and went our separate ways.

All of this got me to thinking about connections.  Its interesting how we make connections with each other.  One usually has to be the first to speak, to break the ice, to extend the hand or smile.  I’m generally a happy person, but not necessarily the first do any of those things.  Every morning, Mickey is just bubbling over with enthusiasm and life.  Its all over her demeanor, the way she walks and carries herself.

You know, I make up stories in my head about people I meet, but don’t really know.  I play out those stories based on how I perceive them.  For Mickey, I started thinking she’s probably a widow, her spouse passed away some time ago.  She’s decided to get out of the house for fresh air and exercise.  Her children no longer live close, and she’s all alone in this place.  She’s hungry for human interaction, for communication, for…connection.  She extends herself in friendly and engaging ways, trying to make connections and feel the warmth and joy of friendship.

Human connection is something we all crave and need.  Yes, its true, some of us also crave our alone time, time to recharge and renew ourselves.  But even those of us, me included, who need that alone time, also need connection.  Just like all of you, I have a circle of friends who provide that connection for me.  They are wonderful people. They give me as much or as little connection as I need, and understand when I need the distance, and when I need the closeness.

I wonder, is this how God is?  Does God understand us, the inner workings of our psyche?  Does God know just when to be present and connect with us?

In John 14:27 we’re told, “”Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  Jesus was assuring his followers he was not ever going to leave them really.  His peace, his presence, his connection with them would always be there. He said he was not giving as the world gives.  I take that to mean Jesus understood us much better than we know.  Jesus understood that there are times our friends and family can’t always be depended on to be there for us.  He, on the other hand, will ALWAYS be with us right when we need him.  That’s a connection to cherish and pursue.

In Psalm 34:17-19 we read…”The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.”  I take comfort in knowing God is so close at any given time, all I have to do is call for God’s presence, and God is there.  No matter my situation, no matter how troubled, or grief-stricken, or alone I feel, all I have to do is call, and God will be there, right beside me.

I also hear in both of these scriptures God understands us when we need to be solitary and withdrawn.  God simply stands ready to be with us when we reach out in our need.

What an awesome and loving God we have in our lives.

I’ve made up all sorts of images and stories in my mind about Mickey and what motivates her to reach out to me and others.  I could be completely off-base with my assumptions and scenarios, and I’m okay with that.  Mickey may be just so full of life and joy, she can’t contain it and it spills over onto those she passes along the way.  After I passed Mickey, I kept thinking about her all the way to the end of my walk.  I decided I was going to put a little card in my pocket tomorrow with the church’s address and worship time on it.  I’m going to pass it to Mickey and invite her to come be my guest at Preston Hollow.  I’m going to tell her how much joy she gives me every morning, and how I really need her help to welcome others at the church.  You see, I feel a connection to Mickey already, I wonder what she’ll say?

May God connect with each of us in every moment of every day.  

Your fellow traveler on the Way,

Pastor Tom

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