I love stories of missional people reaching out to their neighbors, but sometimes I have trouble imagining those stories replicated in my life. Lacking imagination, it’s clear to me that compassion is my guide, and friendship the good soil for Kingdom work. With that in mind, I can respond to opportunities when they come up.
When I started at my workplace, I prayed for a friend or two with whom it might eventually become possible to have Gospel conversations. My discernment in how to spend my time isn’t always straightforward, but opportunities have come up. After a difficult year of teaching in a global pandemic, I decided to take a summer to actually rest. The most restful thing I could think of: the outdoor trip of my dreams. A two-week trip out west for hiking, reflection, solitude, etc. When someone suggested a travel partner (because safety), I realized the great opportunity to invest in a new, workplace friendship. I thought of one coworker whose very tough spring probably meant she also needed rest. I felt compassion and I felt drawn to invite her to at least a leg of the trip. When she agreed, I (embarrassingly) dreamed we could maybe read a devotional in the mornings and have times of worship while hiking. It went something like that.
I look back to the road trip and it has been key to our friendship. We shared a lot of experiences and a lot about life. She learned about my childhood, I learned about her past church pain. I’ve asked her permission to pray for her, and she’s never said no. She’s not ready to join a Bible study, and actually does not want to go to church with me. I’d be lying if I said I knew what to do next. This is another messy discernment period. But part of the reason I agreed to write this email was for the accountability that I knew would come with thinking this “out loud” so to speak. I’d love prayer for my friend and I’d love prayer for me as I try to love her well.