Connecting in a crowd

thLiving around lots of people can have a numbing effect on your relationships. It’s required by the mere fact of sheer numbers. You can’t be in close proximity to hundreds of people every day and connect to all of them. So the alternative is the means by which we cope with this reality: we don’t connect with anyone. The result of this is people isolated and alone in a crowd. It’s the only way we can function. We actually get good at shutting people out — not seeing what’s right in front of us. So we’re alone on the street, alone on a bus, alone in an airplane, even alone with just a few people in an elevator.

Perhaps you have noticed some pretty amazing YouTube videos where music or dance is performed by a group of people planted in a large crowd and all coming together to sing or dance unannounced in the middle of a large public place. We’re always moved by this because it’s as if people who were dead are coming alive. People who were formerly alone in their isolation suddenly come together to perform something beautiful. They are connecting for a purpose.

It’s all about connecting. Every day we make choices about who we will connect with, or should we be interrupted by someone, we have to decide if we will stop and connect with the interruption.

Like last night, one of my neighbors stopped by with a girlfriend I hadn’t met and he wanted to show her the bees in our trees. We have a pepper tree in our back yard that is very attractive to bees, and when the bees come, the whole tree hums with their activity. He had heard it earlier in the day and wanted to share it with his friend. Initially wanting to avoid this interruption, I mentioned that the bees had all gone home for the night, as if I knew where that was, and why don’t they come back tomorrow. My diversion didn’t work, so we connected anyway and had a nice visit.

We need to be aware of these moments and make conscious decisions about them when we do. Even though I tried to get out of this one, it turned out better in the end. And who knows … they might come back today. The bees are buzzing right now.

I do believe we need to connect more with each other. Relationships are what we are here for. If we don’t have time to connect, what else are we doing that’s so important? Chandler reminded me last night that I needed to pay more attention to Anne’s text messages, indeed to Anne in general. “Your daughter needs you,” he said. Imagine that? My 16-year-old son telling me I need to be a better father to my daughter. He’s right. I haven’t really connected with her since she moved to Hawaii. Thank you, Chandler.

Jesus once was touched by a woman in a crowd — touched in such a way as to connect to Him. She needed healing and believed if she could only touch His garment she would be healed. When Jesus asked who had touched Him, the disciples thought He was nuts. They were being pressed on all sides by the crowd; what do you mean “Who touched me?” But this touch was different. This touch connected a woman’s faith with the power of God and Jesus felt the power go out from Him.

We want to connect with people like this today. We want to connect in faith, because when we do, we will all sense the power of God. Live in such a way that someone today might ask, “Who touched me? Someone connected with me, today. Somebody found me in the crowd. Who was that?”

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2 Responses to Connecting in a crowd

  1. Heather says:

    That’s “neat” that God had the connection with your neighbor happen anyway (although admittedly it may not have felt “neat” at first!) My default mode tends to be that of isolation, too, John, so I’ve really been understanding where you’re coming from these past few days. Very much so…and I know how hard it can be to change that default mode to one of connecting instead of isolating. There have been those times, however, that God perseveres in getting me beyond that default mode and, despite my fighting it, gives me the strength to allow a connection to occur, to allow an interruption to become a gift. Thank goodness He has more sense than I!

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