I wait by the phone. I continually check my email. Will anybody call first? Write first? Or make first contact? When people tell me to just stop by their houses, do I? Or do I resist and refrain out of myriad excuses. They spoke without sincerity. Why should I inconvenience them?
Doubt restrains me. I fail to recognize the validity, power and beauty of simple presence.
Several months ago, I walked the dusty streets of northern Uganda. The days passed slowly. I transitioned from the self-imposed busy bustle of America to the unscheduled, relationally timed pace of the Africans. I spent two or three days with a group of mentors and a houseful of children they care for. From my stringently high, action-based standards I did not do anything. We sat. We talked. We sat. We sat in silence. We chewed sugar cane. We played games. We helped make dinner. We sat some more.
They served…continually. Heaping plates of warm meals were placed before me before they themselves ate. They asked me to share my life. They honored me by giving the time and arena to speak. As I prepared to leave, they asked to pray for me, blessing me immensely. I felt undeserving.
Walking away from that house, I expressed my feelings of inadequacy to a friend who now lives in Uganda. She understood but challenged me to abandon the merit-based confines I so inherently believed. She told me to put myself into the worn sandals of those village children. Of all the continents in the world, I came to Africa. Of all the countries in Africa, I came to Uganda. Of all the regions in Uganda, I came to Gulu. And, of all the innumerable huts, houses and mud-caked shacks dotting the barren landscape, I came to their home and ate with them. It was an honor and a privilege that proved inexplicably mutual.
I hope to translate this back into life here in the United States. I attempt to just show up instead of waiting for the other to initiate. I try to call first and call back when voicemails are not returned. I vow to send emails, letters and care packages just because.
What about my relationship with God? I treat him as I do my parents. I respond after they initiate. I don’t make the effort to show up or exist intentionally. I simply coexist.
What if the inverse occurred? What if I invited my parents out for dinner? What if I made the pot of coffee, poured some cups and sat down asking about their lives. I could. You could. We retain the option.
What would happen if the inverse occurred with God? What if I acted instead of reacted? What if I initiated conversation simply to be with him, not expecting to receive? What if I believed that he yearned to spend the day, the hour, the minute with me?
I am the one who is busy.
Do you initiate with other people?
Do you initiate with God?
What are you afraid of?
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