Life Together

I am an extrovert in most every sense of the distinction. I believe occasions are more fun, information is better processed, decisions are more effectively made, and memories are more profoundly shared when I’m with someone else.

I’m married to, good friends with, and mothered by, introverts. I’m thankful for the balancing, centering, and generous effect of their internal, quiet, listening lives, and thank them for letting me crowd in when sometimes they’d rather be alone!

So far, it’s hard to tell where Eli, Andi, and Oakley fall on the social-energy-experience spectrum. They all three love to engage with people- Oakley is in a sweet stage of sharing smiles with everyone he sees and absolutely gains energy from a crowd. Eli and Andi can both play for hours alone in their own imaginations or can join forces to play together in such a sweet way it melts this mom’s heart so much so that I let out an audible “Ahhhh, they’re together again” (remember the angst of Eli’s desertion of all things sweet and sibling togetherness for Kindergarten last August) and call Drew right away to tell him how great it is.

We are on the wedding circuit these days as a family. May 11th was Heather and Luke’s wedding in California and we leave in 2 days for Chicago for Quinton and Erica’s wedding. For our whole family to be invited and caught up in these weddings has been a shaping experience for our spring and early summer. We are all thinking about what it means to build a family, to start a marriage, and to share life together in a most foundational way.

In the writing of homilies for these weddings, God’s love of relational connection keeps bubbling up as the paramount reality. Theologically, I cannot escape the togetherness, the internalized extroversion of God.

God IS three persons. Three distinct persons in perfect harmonious union acting to create, sustain, and engage with Creation. The relational reality of God does not stop within Godself. God exemplifies shared life and exhorts us to join in. God pursues people and shows us how, in Christ, to love, connect, and enjoy life inside caring, sacrificial, messy but wonderful relationships.

Twice, in ways that absolutely stood out and made me pay attention, Andi has demonstrated this reality in our front yard.

Outside earlier this spring, I sat down to pull some weeds. Andi came over to join me in the weed infested section of rocks. We pulled a couple more when suddenly the dirt pulled up revealed a pocket of rolly-polly bugs. Andi loves a good insect find and was excited. She said,  “Oooh yay, Rolly pollies!…(1 second passes)… I have to tell Eli.. Elllliiii! (She runs while yelling around the back of the house) Come quick, I found rolly pollies!!!”

She held onto her excitement, her discovery, for about 1 second before she ran to find her brother to share in the joy with her. The fact that Eli doesn’t like bugs didn’t stop her…she could not, would not miss out on sharing this moment with someone else she loved.

Later in April, the day after her birthday, Andi and I set out to harness the wind and fly her new Cinderella birthday kite. The winds were gracious that day and the kite’s plastic sturdy…Cinderella flew high and steady! Andi held the kite string boldly for, once again, about 1 second, before she handed it off to me and ran around the back of the house yelling…. “Ellllliiiiiii…come quick! The kite is flying!”

Because she was amazed, excited and in wonder- she ran off to pull someone else in. She does the same when she is hurt, feeling lost or left out- she cries, loud and emphatically, until someone else joins into her experience.

Presence is powerful. We need individuality and our own space to think and live for sure. Sometimes though, connection with others requires a vulnerability that takes us out of our own selves and allows others in to shape us in the way we were created.

When there are rolly-pollies or high kites, an article that’s helpful, a movie entertaining, a WOD extremely difficult, or a deal on bacon wrapped filets at Aldi, we should share with others. In joy, wonder, shock, pain, or the mundane, lets connect in a relational engagement of that experience.

And with that, I end my extroverted propoganda for the day 🙂


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