Yesterday I walked out the back door of the church to my car and was greeted with ‘Stephanie!’ It was my basketball buddy who likes to play at the church hoop with her brothers who came toward me bouncing her basketball…’do you have any gum?’
I always get that question …the exact same one. I haven’t had any for MONTHS, but she keeps asking. We talked about what her favorite kind was and she spent several minutes mulling over the brand name…rolling different brands over her tongue trying to figure out which one was her favorite. But knew the flavor in an instant, ‘Strawberry with different colored layers.’
She cracks me up. Seriously.
She bounces around with her beaded braids and has so much energy. Her brothers chat too, but she never runs out of words. I honestly think she reminds me of myself when I was about 8 years old. Always needing someone to talk to that would listen, and pay attention. Someone to realize I was there and value me instead of just being a shadow bugging people.
I was getting in my car when she yelled, ‘Watch me shoot the basketball!’
I, of course, was already running late…and said, ‘I don’t have much time. How about tomorrow?’
Her reply? ‘Then watch me for whatever time you have. Just watch a couple shots.’
How poignant is that? Isn’t that what we all want? From each other, our families, at work…from God?
Someone to see us. Someone to take the time. Someone who cares. Someone to encourage us when we fail and to cheer us in our victories.
It’s not just the kids at the basketball hoop, is the folks we serve hot meals to at Westport, the families in Joplin or the families at Hillcrest…or the quiet congregation member in the back row. It’s your co-worker, your kid, your neighbor…
It’s all about the relationship, and being a part of someone else’s story…it doesn’t matter where you are. And it is not about ‘setting aside time,’ it’s about being present in the moments you find in your every day life. There is no way to actively work for the mission of God without relationships. It is what God created us for.
What matters is the time you invest and the attention you give to those around you. I needed the reminder yesterday…and I got it from an 8 year-old.