[I]…try to find something wise and hopeful to say to them, only little by little coming to understand that the most precious thing I have to give them is not whatever words I find to say but simply whatever, spoken or unspoken, I have in me of Christ, which is also the most precious thing they have to give me. ~ Frederick Buechner, The Longing for Home
Just because I recognize the soul value of maintaining community does not mean it comes easily to me. At heart I am something of an introvert. Left to my own devices I can easily become wrapped up in my work, or solo activities like reading a good book, or tending to all the many things that are required to keep life organized, and not realize that I’m missing out on opportunities to invest in building relationships. Because of my years spent in the business world, and my experiences as a minister and being the daughter of ministers, I’ve had to learn how to have some more extroverted characteristics. Still, making conversation with people I don’t know well requires focus and effort, and the prospect of facing a room full of people I’ve never met is incredibly intimidating.
I appreciate this Buechner quote because it speaks to something I am continuing to learn. It helps me see that I am released from the responsibility of having the “right thing” to say. Instead, I am free to practice listening and hearing the heart of the other person. I am freed from the need to perform. I am free to focus on reflecting God’s image into my relationships.
This is Day 21 of 31 Days of Soul Tending and the focus is maintaining community and building relationships. I’m reminding myself that I don’t have to make sure I do the “right” thing or have the “right” thing to say to build relationships. I only need to share what I’ve learned so far.
The previous post in this series is Depth perception
The next post in this series is Enveloped by solitude