By April Terry (personal blog http://faithwarming.blogspot.com)
My son and I watched a documentary called “Craigslist Joe” about a man who goes on an adventure to live off of Craigslist for an entire month. The journey takes him across the United States and back and affords him the benefit of meeting all kinds of people. Joe’s journey puts him in the position of having to meet and depend on all kinds of people. He does this through the listings he finds and the people he meets at various events all found on Craigslist.
The documentary was an awesome lesson on connecting with others. Joe had to meet and depend on the kindness of others, and it was poignantly apparent that there are a lot of kind and generous people out there in the world. I found myself in tears at the end as he talked with his mother upon his return and explained to her that it was the most life-altering experience of his life.
As I think about the documentary, the singular thing that held everything together was the people in each of the stories. The people in each situation were open and giving and willing to have a stranger camp out on their living room carpets for a night. It was poignant and rich with human connections that started out as acquaintances but turned into deep, rich human interactions and while there was no promise that he would connect with them again, there was an understanding that the time they had together was meaningful and important. As they shared their stories with one another, their pain, joy, and desires unfolded to one another and it was a touching thing to watch.
It made me think that if Joe could do that kind of thing through Craigslist, then how much more could we accomplish by taking a chance on the occasional acquaintance. The beauty of the story was that he took a chance on others and they took a chance on him as well. Both parties had to put aside their fear in order to make those connections.
Sometimes, I wonder if we get so involved in the process of living that we forget it is the people in our lives who matter the most, and more than that, we aren’t always open to having new people come in and out. As “Craigslist Joe” showed me, it doesn’t take all that long to make a connection with someone in an important way. It almost makes me want to don a new T-shirt with the phrase, “It’s the people, stupid” to remind myself that it isn’t about the sport, the food, or the card games. It’s about those who are across from us holding the cards, tennis rackets, or knives and forks.
I think the craziest part of living in this world is the fact that we can’t see the forest for the trees. We are daily surrounded by people, and yet, we manage to be so alone. I believe that we were created for relationships with one another, but we have perhaps become too cynical to trust enough to allow entry into our inner circles. Where I grew up, people didn’t lock their doors.
We were talking today about the way that Jesus gathered his disciples. We tried to imagine a situation where a stranger walks up to us and says, “follow me” and we just get up from whatever task we are doing and follow. It is hard to imagine, but it also illustrates the level of trust that they experienced upon seeing Jesus. Jesus was a nomad living off the generosity of others, too.
He calls us to go out and make disciples. While that word means a pupil, it carries with it the understanding of an inherent trust between two or
more people. If the key to a full and rich life is measured by the relationships that we make and the impact of those relationships, then the rest of our lives are insignificant compared to the interpersonal relationships we produce and cultivate. We don’t need Craigslist for that, maybe just a little trust and courage.
January 21st, 2013 · No Comments
Categories: DE Thoughts