As you might know, my soul sings when I get to participate in life-giving conversations. The exchange of eye contact, honesty, and time are treasures few give out. Instead, people get coffee with their cell-phones; and happen to be sitting across from someone who is supposedly significant. I often ask myself, “Why has it come to this? How has the importance of relationship diminished this much?”
Then, I take a deep breath.
Everyone around me is looking to be found, to be seen. My response to their need can look a couple of ways. One: I can engage in the world around me and the people within it. Or, two, remain in a continuous state of looking for, but never finding, what they or I need: intimate connection.
I pride myself in coming across as a composed, thoughtful individual, typically acting a decade older than my 23 years. However, the past few days have put my need for connection on public display. The collected woman I portray was asked to briefly relinquish her position of authority, and invite something other than composure to be present: intimacy.
Intimacy first arrived while I was participating in an interview for Tablet of the Heart. I was nestling into the coffee shop surroundings and my interviewee’s words when my soul was struck. “This is what you need,” my mind seemed to say, playing with the strands of my delicate heart. I thought to myself, “this is relationship. What I am experiencing is the body of the Church. This is God’s love extended.”
And what was I doing? Listening to another person’s soul be poured out–the broken, healing, and whole pieces. I was willing to ask questions of depth in order to give God’s glory a place to reside in both of us.
Next, intimacy was revealed within me a few days later at a family gathering. I asked everyone to share a few things they were grateful for and hoped for the best. (Not everyone enjoys the depths of ones soul as much as I do) However, my soul rejoiced as I heard and saw men and women I cared about express their deepest thanks to one another and to God. What welled up inside me ended up trickling out of my heart and into my eyes. Tears, one of God’s most gracious gifts, streamed down my cheeks.
“This is who I am,” I thought to myself. “I am a woman of emotional depth who delights in exposing God’s glory through intimacy.”
Finally, my intimate heart found a home with a dear friend. We were discussing her newfound role as a mother when she pointedly told me it was my turn to share. (I have a good-habit gone-bad of listening instead of talking). Instead of my mind pushing back as it often does, I heard a tender part of my heart say, “I am hurting. Please, let her see me.” As I looked into her eyes, I could see her expectancy. She wanted me to trust her to take care of what I gave her to hold. Moisture, once again, filled my eyes as I surrendered aching pieces of me.
Softly, God seemed to whisper to me, “Intimacy is a gift. Do not hide from it.”
And, that phrase is something I want to extend to you today. In a world where conflict abounds and people are starved for connection, remember intimacy is a gift God has given. So, give the people around you the same gift! Bestow upon them eye contact, time, and the honest condition of your heart…and watch in wonder as intimacy weaves brand new joy into the fabric of your relationships.