Do you ever wonder if other people wonder? Wonder about death? Wonder about purpose? Wonder about those things you allow yourself to contemplate in the quiet moments of life?
Last night was a holy night. I gathered with some girlfriends—most of whom I’ve known for several years now (and some of whom I’ve only recently met.) And the night was holy because we discovered we are not alone in our wondering, in our worrying, and in our general mistrust of ourselves. After the expected chatter regarding upcoming vacations, home renovations, and baby sleep schedules, someone made the decision to be honest. And her vulnerability allowed someone else to be vulnerable, and the atmosphere in the room changed. It was charged with a different kind of energy. I found myself sitting in an air of authenticity.
And for the next moment, I want to invite you into that living room. Because in spaces of real connection—in places where the Kingdom comes to earth—you will never leave a gathering thinking everyone else has it all put together and that you’re hanging on to your own façade by a thread. In holy spaces, you will instead be reminded that you are not alone. And while you may very well feel alone, you are “not alone in your loneliness.” **
Heaven is God’s kingdom coming to earth, a place where Love unceasingly reigns— and this heaven will be filled with communities of people who finally let go of their egos and stop comparing and competing with others and instead seek to understand and uplift them. Dallas Willard says that love is simply “the will for the good of others.” I think I got a sense of that last night. Our conversation wasn’t pretense and idle chatter, but it wasn’t drama for drama’s sake either. We were listening and we were talking in an attempt to be real and to remind each other that we are not alone: that we are indeed not irreparable nutcases like we so often think we are.
Good movies, good books, good friends—most of these things guide us toward the truth that we are all deeply dysfunctional. But invaluable community– and those especially poignant works of art—also remind us that we can be made whole again. Whether we believe in God or not—we all have an awareness of things being not quite right—not quite whole—not quite the way they are supposed to be. I long for my heart to do what is naturally good – that is—selflessly love—in every moment of my existence. But I am not there yet. We are not there yet. We groan for redemption. And we see glimpses of this redemption in holy conversations like the one I was part of a few nights ago. This yearning for wholeness is why I believe in Jesus. I believe in the wholeness he promises.
I’ve found it interesting that a comment from people after they read what I’ve written is “What faith she has.” My faith is so very weak—it’s not even me hanging on—it’s the Spirit in me hanging on to that greater Spirit, binding my weary, fledgling soul to His own. And maybe that’s the point—that I can’t even have faith by my own power—but rather it is my own weakness that perfects my faith. And perhaps it’s the aforementioned longing for wholeness, for connection, that keeps me bound to the God I could not escape if I tried. Things are not yet right, and I want them to be. I long for things to be made whole—I long for Love to reign, because love indeed will reign.
And perhaps Love got a little closer last night, in that holy space. She put a few stakes in the ground, She started to set up camp. Jesus said again and again—“the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Do you know you usher in the kingdom with your vulnerability? Do you know the eternal nature of heaven is present in the here and now—when real people give up pretending and give up control, and instead start listening and surrendering?
“Yet be sure of this,” I happened to read tonight, “The Kingdom of God has come near” (Luke 10).