I saw a billboard recently that provoked my thinking about relationships. It read, “Lonely billboard….looking for a long-term relationship.”
It made me think about how little value we put into relationships. (A relationship with a billboard?)
Well, I must admit it is a clever marketing tactic. The message was clear. I knew what the sign meant.
The more I thought about it though, the more I began thinking about how shallow relationships have become and very often it’s because of our pain.
Many of us have lost our trust in people and we resort to connecting with things that give us a false sense of connection. Things like our car, home, food, sports, animals, shopping, our careers, ministry, and even a silly billboard! The list is endless.
We live in a society where real friendship and connection is replaced by things with no lasting value. Things were never meant to replace our human connections.
Things are not wrong and can give us enjoyment in this life but they will never satisfy our deep longing for connection. We were created to connect.
The problem is that we don’t want to interfere with others busy lives so we ignore the longing to connect and busy ourselves with things that may be important but have no lasting value.
A recent example of connecting happened as I was sitting in my courtyard enjoying my morning routine with a good cup of coffee and my time of meditation.
My next door neighbor was doing yard work. I watched for a while and kept thinking I should go over and help her. Her task was unending and I knew I could lighten her load by offering my help and equipment.
I nearly talked myself out of it because I didn’t know my neighbor. They had moved in a few months ago. Besides a quick introduction, I had never spent any time with her.
I wondered if she would be offended by me showing up to help out? Or if I offered my help would she tell me she would rather I didn’t help her? Would it make her uncomfortable?
After 30 minutes of the “should I” thoughts, I decided…why not? I put my work boots on, ran out to the shop, got the yard vehicle and drove to where she was working.
I’m describing the details to help you understand the effort it takes to be relational rather than staying in our own little world of “things.”
She smiled big and said, “I would love your help.”
Within about an hour we had completed her task. I was satisfied and she was delighted.
The best part of this connection was the next morning. She wanted to bring her special homemade carrot cake over for us. We met on my back porch and enjoyed a cup of coffee.
Two hours of sharing life and telling our stories left both of us feeling like we KNEW each other.
Since we met, we’ve talked several times and I truly feel like she would do anything at any time I was in need. She knows she can count on us as well. Her husband is in the military and she is alone for months at a time, which I didn’t know when I offered to help.
The beauty of connection is that it doesn’t cost a penny and it creates community.
When we connect, we build relationships that meet a need and longing we were created for. Healthy relationships satisfy our longing to be connected.
Being in a neighborhood where people know each other feels like my childhood days on the farm. The feeling of safety and security are only two of the benefits to healthy relationships.
I’m glad I decided to help my neighbor instead of going shopping and filling my life with more “things.”
Brene Brown says, “Being connected is what gives us meaning and purpose in this life.”
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