Many people in our community crave deeper connections, but we are not always sure where to find them. This craving for real relationships, healthy connections, and trust between ourselves and our neighbours is nearly universal.
Years ago I travelled along with a doctor into the heart of the Amazon rainforest. I flew on several airlines, then on a bush plane, then rode on a jeep, then overnight on a big river boat with families, goats, and chickens, and then on a series of dugout canoes to get to a village where the houses were up on stilts. I was a stranger to the people we visited, but they welcomed me in. What I learned from my time in Brazil is that no matter how different my life and culture was from theirs, we both craved connections that extended beyond ourselves. I learned that we all have walls, or barriers to trust, that limit us from connecting. It takes intentional work and practice to build trust and to connect. As strange as it might sound, it felt easier to connect with people in Brazil because I was prepared for it, I trained for it, I went with the intention to meet and encourage the local people. I am discovering that it is often harder in my own neighbourhood because I do not often live with that kind of intentionality. I do not easily see my need for connections, and I might not think that the people in my community really want to connect with me.
Yet real connections are waiting to happen in the places where we live. In our own ways we all long to know and be known. Here are seven kinds of connections that we crave, connections that help us discover new hope and trust between ourselves and our neighbours.
• We crave connections that give us new insight and a hopeful point of view. Our neighbours have stories that open our eyes to good things.
• We crave connections that help us see that there is more to life. Good neighbours remind us that we are more than a nameless employees or tax payer, we are valuable and worth loving.
• We crave connections that encourage us. We all need people who remind us not to give up, but to grow and create.
• We crave connections with those who know how to dialogue about deeper things. Small talk is good, but sometimes we need others to help us reflect on our profound longings and wonderings.
• We crave connections that are with us for the long haul. We have friends along the way and friends that go all the way. We crave and need both.
• We crave generous connections. Sharing back and forth of our time and resources is a gift, the experience of generosity is deeply enriching.
• We crave connections that spill over in humour and fun. We need people who know how to let down their hair and laugh.
It is good to crave deeper connections. It was how we were made. Whether you are looking for one good friend, or a larger community, remember that all you crave might be found much closer than you think. May you discover that your city and neighbourhood is a perfect place to nurture the connections we crave, connections that fill us with life and new hope.