Messages are uttered in so many ways. Bold statements blurted out from the too familiar, boisterous co-worker, stranger on the street, billboard, or TV commercial. The grandchild that pops a question of “aha” magnitude. The Sunday sermon from the pastor or the simple architecture of a chapel set in the woods. The faithful spouse who knows your every fault, but loves you all heart and soul anyway. The quiet utterance of a sunset or springtime walk into fresh sprouts of greens and purples in the woods. The songbird singing his lovely tune to the world. Oh, the shout of that big Texas moon on a spring night! The stone structure or tree still standing despite time and weather. Messages are all around us everyday. Are you listening?
With our electronics, anyone could go days without speaking face-to-face with another person. Parents receive a text message from their teenager about the next football tailgate with that adolescent one room away from the parent under the same roof at that place called “home”. I have been at dinner gatherings where the i-phone is set next to the plate like it is part of the place setting. And I have been guilty of such! How about delivering verbal words to your co-worker in person by walking to their office down the hall instead of an email message? The internet, emails, texts, tweets, and online posts can keep us informed, and there is a time and season for it. But what about connecting with an oxygen-breathing, heart-feeling human in person? A connection can happen with a little conscious effort.
Connections can come through family, neighborhoods, work, school, food events, sports, hobbies, art, music, support or social groups. Colors speak. Color choices in clothing and home design can display meaning. I recently read The Turquoise Table by Kristin Schell, and she used a self-appointed, self-painted turquoise picnic table planted in her front yard to connect with her neighbors. This Christian woman wanted to share her life with others in a safe venue such as her front yard. The turquoise table caught the neighbors’ attention. This idea of hospitality spread to many more neighborhoods and communities, world-wide. It is a reminiscence of the front porch of yesteryear.
The Jenny Joseph poem, Warning, inspired the Red Hat Society founder, Sue Ellen Cooper to give a friend a red hat for her 50th birthday. The first lines of the poem, “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple, with a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me,” tell us each to grow older in a playful manner on our own terms. Purple and red are not just for senior women with the Red Hat Society. Why not make a statement and most likely a connection with the next visitor at your purple front door? What about a fresh-baked pie left with the next-door neighbor or a water bowl left out near the sidewalk to quench the thirst of those dogs the joggers/walkers bring out on a hot summer day?
However you decide to connect, connect with the purpose to love …
“Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. Love never stops loving … Love remains long after words of knowledge are forgotten.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (Passion translation).