During the past four weeks, I have traveled the world. My travels have taken me to Europe, the Middle East, India, and Singapore. For a week, I was with the friend. Most of the time, I traveled alone. Yet, I was always in communities that are close to my heart. As my journey comes to its end, I find myself reflecting. In their strengths, I am stronger. In their struggles, I hear a call to share the load. In their hope, I walk strengthened, encouraged, and changed.
It is natural to believe, hope that one is unique. One longs to be special, needed, and loved. I have no doubt that each has something to offer that is indeed different, tailored. We may fear that we do not, yet our lives suggest something quite different. I have been reminded that we touch each other in ways we do not often understand. Our presence can provide comfort and hope when we do not think we have any to give. Our extended hand of friendship and love is a priceless gift even if we do not recognize its value. Our willingness to stand along side another, sharing the ups and downs, being in the moment at hand together, creates the potential for much more than is otherwise possible.
As natural as our thoughts are, it is important to realize that others are following a path of their own. Often in ways they do not see, their gifts nurture those around them. The impact of an extended hand is universal. Each time it is offered, it brings hope. The result of a touch defies the simplicity of the moment. Hearts are connected. The mystery of life extends in ways that are often beyond our imagination.
I am fortunate. I am not the first. “Paul and Barnabas stayed on in Antioch, teaching and preaching the Word of God. But they weren't alone. There were a number of teachers and preachers at that time in Antioch.” (Acts 15.35) They and I have had the chance to experience incredible, nurturing, and supportive communities.
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