Connection is Life-Giving

“I needed this. I really needed this time.”

Those words were spoken so many times in the last two weeks that I started to feel like God was trying to make a point. We’ve had a really full, really stressful and hectic few weeks of trying to prepare for a conference (actually 3 concurrent conferences that happened in one week!). Once the date had finally arrived, I was so ready for it to be over. Do you ever feel like that? Like you’re so excited for a thing to happen, and you’re also so ready for it to end? I was thrilled to see my colleagues from all over the world, and I was so ready to reconnect with people, and I was really looking forward to some productive strategy meetings that would set the stage for the year to come. But at the same time, the getting ready and the build up and the logistics and the output of energy just exhausted us and I was ready for it to be over before it even started.

Then they arrived, and within hours, I was renewed and refreshed and on my way to that special therapeutic healing that can only come from connection to people who ‘get it’ and understand you and want to listen and love deeply. “Ahhhh… I needed that. I really needed that.” My soul was happy and finding peace.

It wasn’t just me saying it, though. It was people who sat down to dinner and had good conversations and shared what’s going on in their lives – and at the end of the meal there were hugs and those words, “I needed that. Thanks for listening. That was great.” There was a night of playing games and telling stories and laughing till our sides hurt and tears were streaming down our faces – and then, when the time came to break up the fun, the words, “Oh my goodness! That was awesome! I haven’t laughed like that in ages. I really needed that!” There were some particularly difficult, vulnerable conversations about the tough stuff, about when LIFE happens and you’re broken and don’t know how to get back up again, when empathy and love are the only things that will help, when hearing someone say, “you’re not alone… I’ve been there… I’m here for you… I got your back” – at the end of that, there is a deep sigh and a relief and deep healing and those words, “I needed that. I needed to talk about that. I needed this time. Thanks for listening.”

Yesterday, we took four of our colleagues up to one of our favorite places and we went on a long hike. It’s a beautiful place, yes, but it’s also a place where deep connection always happens. There’s something beautiful that happens when people walk alongside each other and talk. Somehow, the daily stuff of the world melts away and the real stuff bubbles up and comes to the surface. Suddenly you find yourself talking about the deep longings of your heart, the wounded places, or telling the stories that you’ve never told each other before. And pretty soon, the awesomeness of being connected and sharing and listening occurs… and you feel lighter, you feel like burdens are being lifted, you feel like you’re not alone, you feel heard, and you feel like healing is possible… like you can keep going another day because you just found a piece of your soul that you were missing.

“I needed that. I really needed that.”