I have been on the road for a long time, far too long I think. My travels have taken me to New York, London, Switzerland, Italy, United Arab Emirates, India, and Singapore. There is a recurring awareness that has been repeatedly reinforced. Virtual conversations are good, but they will never as good as being present. Sharing and catching up works to a degree using technology, however something changes when you are with another. It is as if one feels what is being communicated. Words take on emotions. What is said between the lines becomes an integral part of the conversation. A fuller, more complete dialogue is possible.
As I have shared my story with those I meet, updating them on big events and small, I find myself richer for the experience. I sense Hopes presence in their words. As we talk, I know they are relieved that potentially bad news is not. As we look to what can happen in the future, their fears are tangible reminders of the uncertainty we share across our communities. We thrash potential ideas, looking to help and support each other.
In these moments, I believe the sacrifice required to be on the road is selectively worthwhile. Specifically, there are two lessons I find myself holding onto.
Taking time out to be with others is a good thing. Our wisdom fathers and others have followed this model. When And so off they went to Antioch. On arrival, they gathered the church and read the letter. The people were greatly relieved and pleased. (Acts 15.30, 31)
Spending time in real conversations is crucial to living. This can happen during the course of each day. If it is complete, it will include time and listening dialogue with God.
As I think of turning and heading for California, I am looking at each day with different priorities. I am walking more slowly and deliberately. I am listening, longer and more deeply. Every day has a miracle within; one is the opportunity to always make a difference. It is an incredible opportunity, available to all.