Tuesday, October 11, 2005

no lurking

It snowed last night here in Santa Fe. Well, actually, it snowed higher up the mountains, so that when we woke, the mountains glistened. The sun didn't shine much until early this evening, but that was just in time to scatter hundreds of different skyscapes throughout the huge New Mexico sky. Myriad hues and shades shone against the remaining, scattering clouds and crepuscular happiness illuminated the snowy mountains.
It was pineapple, muskmellon, and crepes for breakfast, rice and stir fry for lunch, and blue corn enchiladas with green for supper.
Last night at the organizational/informational meeting, a comment was made about the focus on community. "If you see someone being alone, go and be with them, that is until you find out that they wanted to be alone." Yes, the word "conversation" is still used to describe what is going on, and being on the receiving end only, is something that is frowned upon. No one should be a lurker. That is, of course, unless you want to be a lurker.
I was thinking this morning in the shower about the conversation idea. Everyone is involved. Everyone has a contribution. As opposed to conferences that I've attended where every detail of your existing is taken care of so that you can concentrate on listening to an expert or proven success story say some things to which you want to listen, at this gathering all the things that conference attendees normally have done and provided for them are done together as part of the gathering. While over at the "come and see how I do it" conference a facilitated feeling of community is being attempted with some clever icebreaker game, here, folks are growing together by preparing meals with and for one another, washing dishes, and cleaning up.
Folks have introduced conversation topics that they would like to facilitate or be a part of, and it is not uncommon for them to say very little once the conversation is started.
So while I was showering, I had the thought that once this idea is embraced, it is very difficult to lurk. But this can be a very difficult idea to embrace. In church and society, we have made it about so few things that a narrow set of abilities, personalities, gifts, and ideas are needed to make things work. If you've got these, we need you. If you don't, you lurk and listen and try to find someone's wagon to jump on. But is that really real? Is that really all that it's about? At the personal level, is that really all we need from each other? And why do we not always operate at the personal level. We're people after all.
So I realized that what people need from you is not what you don't have. Somehow we've bought into what we've been told people need, and we ain't got it. So we lurk. But what people really need is you. They need me, too. Isn't that weird? Here they know it, and they're asking for it. Today in a small group conversation, I made a comment about a characteristic of mine that seems to put people ill at ease, or that they misunderstand. All day long, people approached me talk specifically about THAT. Not to help me overcome it, but to discuss how to become more like that.
Guess they could have asked me to preach, but they don't need from me what I don't have.