Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Neighbor's Presence

I wanted to use a separate post this week to take on Mary's question directly: How have you experienced neighbors offering their disruptive and generative presence to you, and bringing you to reflect on what it means to live in both brokenness and grace?

I'm doing that specifically because I have been blessed by two of my friends, S+J, who have mostly willingly entered into conversation with me about all of my coursework for this 2012-2013 academic year and I wanted to reflect on our experience. We've been busy chattering on about prophets, redemption, emerging adults, and what this whole life experience thing is all about now for about 6 months, and I have to say, it has made a hugely noticeable difference in not only my schoolwork, but in my theological thinking. This is not to say that we haven't experienced our own struggles in this little set up.

We meet here at Cottonwood Coffee once a week, someone usually brings something to talk about and we often get off topic as we explore theology. It's been our own private little bubble of the world where we're less concerned about our own rhetoric, where we know the audience intimately, and we enter into each conversation for the most part, willing each to be changed.

Often we have opposing viewpoints, often I'm struck by how similar our perspectives are, but what has stood out to me the most from these exchanges are that even when we are at our most 'human', when we forget a topic, when we have to change location, when new people join us, when we're having crappy days, somehow, we still manage a conversation of substance. Somehow, we still meet. Somehow, we still grow. In that humanness of each of us, we have managed to embrace the relationship that we have established.

Now, I guarantee that at times, it's just these very meetings that can be an interruption to my day and my pace of work, that our conversations can be so far from what I need to be focused on for class that they make completing assignments difficult, and that occasionally, I just don't want to participate. What we've found though, is that among all of that, we miss this time when we don't have it, we continue these conversations outside of this coffee shop in the rest of our lives, and often with other people.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kelsey, It’s good to run into someone in my hometown! I grew up in Brookings and was married at First Lutheran almost 11 years ago. I was even a member of the drama team there for awhile—glad to hear it’s still going strong!

    I appreciate your comment about conversations that can be disruptions to our days. I often need to remind myself (and I anticipate doing this quite a bit when I’m finally in parish ministry) that although unexpected conversations can derail our best intentions for the day, they’re often where real ministry is happening. I also like the idea of spending some time in public places like the coffee shop as a way of inviting interruptions as a regularly scheduled part of my ministry week.


    P.S. I tried commenting under my class blog user name, but it didn't work. Hence, the Blogger ID.