Recently I went down to a very familiar territory for the three of us here at Everything is OK. I went to a place where we spent one week out of every summer through much of our youth – I went to Falls Creek. If you are not familiar, it is a huge church camp in Oklahoma that is put on by the Southern Baptist Convention. This year, the camp ran for eight weeks. Each week there is around 5000 kids at the camp. It is a huge camp. A lot of things have changed since I attended almost 13 years ago, but the overall aspect of it was the same.
While I was there, I engaged in some conversations with people in the cabin we were visiting. Many of the conversations were light hearted and fun, but a couple were serious in nature. One of the biggest conversations I got into was, of course, about politics and religion, as well as The Bible and its place in both of those topics. If you have followed our podcast at all, or have read the first couple of my posts, you have probably heard me talk about my journey with all of those topics. I have openly questioned some interpretations of The Bible and have questioned what role, if any, religion should play into politics.
I say all that to say this. I have discovered that being vulnerable with people is hard at times; however, being vulnerable with family and close friends is the hardest. I didn’t realize that it would be when I first started this journey, but it certainly has turned out that way. At first I couldn’t put my finger on why that was. I thought it would actually be a bit easier because I know them so well, so I thought that the conversation would go a little smoother; however, this has proven to not be the case in most instances thus far. When conversations have not gone very well, it has been more painful than I ever thought it would be. Whether it be intentionally or unintentionally, when a friend or family member dismisses you, it cuts a little deeper.
It would be easy for me to say that somehow they are doing something wrong, and they need to look at what they are doing. While this may be true, it is also true that I have done the same thing to my friends and family. So instead of pointing a finger away from me, I think it is time to point a thumb right back at myself. The most wonderful aspects of this podcast and blog is that I have been able to engage in some really amazing conversations with people that otherwise I probably would not have. I have heard some incredible insight, but also been let in to some deep pain that others are feeling. My hope is I will always approach each conversation with the care and love it deserves. It is difficult to be vulnerable to others. It takes courage and I want to make sure we honor that courage by truly listening and being able to discern what response, if any, is needed.
So, as we go into this weekend and on to next week, may we truly be there for those around us, be present in the moment, and not dismiss someone by not giving them your full attention. May we understand that by someone letting themselves be vulnerable with you, they are telling you that they trust you. May we show them the love that Jesus showed.
Jesus did not dismiss anyone. He did not turn them away. He challenged the overly religious who thought they knew everything. He did not dismiss the hurting and vulnerable. May we be more like him.