Making Room for Life

Recently while working out I noticed that no one in the gym (and there must have been fifty people there) was talking with each other.  Yes, some had earbuds in place taking cellphone calls. Some were no doubt listening to music.  It struck me how much people hunger for community, but how we often replace it with pseudo-community.  There were interesting people we could meet, strike up a conversation, and perhaps develop a friendship with.  But, our attention is elsewhere.  We do those things that help us feel connected without really connecting closely with people.  That day in the gym I experienced a “crowded loneliness.”  This is what Randy Frazee discovered and documented in his book entitled Making Room for Life.  (And here you thought my title was original!)

Years ago Randy was on his first trip to Israel.  One day, the Arab tour guide riding on his bus pointed out a group of bedouin shepherds.  These men were huddling inside a tent-like shelter and they looked poor. The tour guide mentioned that most of the bedouins live to be a hundred years old.  He explained that their diet of fresh fruit and vegetables and little meat helps.  But, the greatest factor in their longevity is the almost complete lack of stress.  They shepherd their flocks and move their tents as needed.  They barter for food and other items they need.  Most importantly, they live in deep community with their family and friends. They do not live in a disconnected world of shallow relationships juggling the stress of work and home, traffic and shops.  The tour guide said: They would not trade their lives for yours.

Trinity depicted in community.

Randy’s experience struck a chord with me.  The best times in the last few weeks have been family dinner times.  A couple of weeks ago, I brought home a mess of stone crabs (which I felt I could afford since I bought them for $3.50 a lb.) and we spread them out on the table for dinner.  We cracked the crabs with juices and crab shells flying, dipped the meat in drawn butter and savored the evening conversation.  You can’t rush through a meal of crabs.  It takes time.  I loved it.  We shared our lives with each other.  It reminded me of the snow days we would have in the northeast when we lived there.  I’m not a big fan of snow.  But, I remember the feeling when we had a large snowstorm and all of our schedules were cancelled.  No school. No work (except for shoveling). We could go sledding or build a snowman.  What made these days special was time together.  It felt like God had to nix our schedules with a storm to get us together to enjoy each other.

This is what Randy was getting at as he envied the life of the bedouins.  So what’s the point in this?  We need to make room for life.  And, life is being with people.  God made us for community.  Even God does not live alone.  The trinity reveals the relational life of our God.  Each of the members of the trinity share life together.  One of the early church artists depicted God dancing, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit enjoying life in community.

All of this explains why we have worked so hard to develop community groups at Granada. We need to make a conscious effort to make room for life.  We can do this by committing to converge out lives for times of community.  Now of course, a community group meeting doesn’t make community happen.  It only provides an opportunity.  The rest is up to you.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sandy on March 24, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Oh, to be more of a bedouin……..

    Reply

  2. Posted by Sandy on August 12, 2018 at 12:19 am

    Bedouin life does sound somewhat appealing :-). I’d like to keep you around for 100 years.

    Reply

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