Over the weekend, a group of us gathered in my favorite coffee shop to shoot a video to promote my book. (I can’t wait to show you the final product!) I watched, in awe, as community spontaneously combusted around me. It’s one thing to write a book about doing life together.
It’s another thing to watch what you write about unfold in front of your eyes.
We filmed the imagery of a group of friends having coffee and enjoying each others company. Then a “nervous” newcomer walks into the shop and is welcomed to the table.
The great thing is that it wasn’t an act. The women at the table (and the surrounding tables as well!) didn’t all know each other before that day. They truly were welcoming each other to the friendship table. For four hours (bless their souls!) they visited and got to know each other better as two fantastic videographers (John Pottenger and Jay Irwin) caught their laughter and sips of coffee on film.
I felt bad for taking all of their afternoon. But when it was over, they didn’t want to leave. They left with a glow on their faces and lighter steps. (Of course, that could have been partially due to the gallons of coffee they imbibed.) Their comments to me after were about what a joy it was to meet each other and share laughs, that it was just what they needed, that their spirits were lifted.
That’s the beauty of doing life together and opening yourself up to people. In the midst of the pain and hurt (and there was plenty of that in many of their lives), sharing a cup of laughter and fun with friends can be just the break you need, just the bit of sunshine and healing for the moment.
So many times I over think community. I easily overwhelm myself with details and talk myself out of organizing a get together for friends. Who should I invite? How many people? What should we do? What if no one comes?
I’ve discovered that the best way to help community to happen is just to provide an opportunity for people to gather.
The best moments of doing life together have come when I get brave and just go for it. When I keep it simple and invite people who don’t know each other just for coffee and scones, or a late-night movie, or a couple hours out, it seems to be exactly what everyone needs. It takes a bit of courage (ok a lot sometimes) up front, but the reward can be so worth it.
So, as Nike would say – Just Do It!
Who can you reach out to this week? How can you introduce some of your friends to each other and connect your circles?
Don’t over think it. Plant some seeds and watch God do the growing.