Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of five columns written by Ron Byler, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. executive director, to mark 100 […]
I’ve been thinking about what things make life meaningful. Here are a few things that add richness to my life. Give them a try.
1. Cross-generational relationships. My daughter is two and a half years old, and since her earliest days, I’ve thought about the important adults in own life (other than my parents) who had an impact on my life and who I’ve become. We take time to visit an elderly shut-in and I love seeing the joy in both sets of eyes when we walk into her apartment. In every congregation and community, there are wise elders who would appreciate a short visit from loving friends of any age.
2. Community. A young man in our congregation recently faced a mental health crisis and I was blessed to see the way his community responded. Men from his Bible study showed up to mow his lawn and to bring his family meals, while other friends cleared time to sit and listen. This is what true community is, a blessing for those feeling brokenness and for those bringing a measure of healing comfort.
3. Time to create. We praise a creative God who selected just the right colors for bright butterflies and gorgeous sunsets. We, too, share in God’s creative spirit and have gifts of creativity. Whether we create music or visual art, quilting or other fabric art, writing or the ability to create a peaceful atmosphere hospitality, explore ways to bless others (and yourself) through time to be creative. This is such a gift in a time of great brokenness and fracture in our world.
4. Remembering the Bible. Honestly, I wish I spent more time studying, reading, meditating on the Bible. This text, which we name as the most foundational for faith and life, is not the first thing I reach for when I have a free moment. What would it look like, how would our lives, communities and world change, if we took the time to think, read and talk about Scripture?
5. Skipping the small talk and being bold. I was with a group of 30-somethings last weekend for an evening of conversation and a shared meal. As we shared the struggles of daily life, one person talked about how much she hates the “greeting time” at church. It’s not long enough to actually share, to get below the “I’m good, how are you?” comments. What would happen if we actually took a pause in our busy lives and expected real, honest answers? What if we were bold when we weren’t “OK” and said so? And then took a few minutes after the service to follow up with the person who needs a listening ear?
Jennie Wintermote is a full-time mother and part-time librarian for the Western District Conference Resource Library in North Newton, Kansas. She is a member of First Mennonite Church in Newton, Kansas.
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