Friday, August 19, 2011

Belonging and mattering

Last week Beve told me he had a meeting scheduled for today with his school administrators, and he  thought he'd ask them to come sit on our new deck instead of sitting around a table inside a school.  This led me (and our daughters) to believe that there would be about six or so people at the day-long meeting.  Since Beve loves to entertain and has been anxious to show off this new masterpiece of his, and it's just so beautiful right now, it was a no-brainer to agree to host this meeting.

Then this morning happened.  Or, perhaps a better way to put it would be, this morning EXPLODED.  My assumptions were blown totally out of the water (or off the deck) as our door just kept opening and more chairs had to be found, and more food appeared on our counters.  Teachers showing up for a meeting!  In the middle of August a full two weeks before they actually have a contract to be back at work.  Yep, that's right.  Not just the counselors and administrators, but a whole bunch of teachers.  It was wild.  When I cornered Beve at one point, I said, "I thought this was going to be a small group."  And he answered, "Well, I might have invited a few other people when I saw them during the week."

 Beve.  Not the principal, but Beve was out there hijacking the meeting to invite anyone he felt like, just to make the party bigger.  "Come on over and let's talk about how to make this the best year for our students."  And they came in droves.  I haven't the faintest idea what the principal had planned to talk about today, but Beve wound up with the BM (belonging and mattering) Committee (otherwise known as TFC: Touchy-Feely Committee) he's always believed in.  Staffs will do better work, when they believe they belong and matter.  And the students will be the better for it. Yep, my Beve is like the den-mother for the whole staff.  Well, that's pretty much what he is for everyone in his life.

But he's absolutely right.  While he was entertaining this group of summering teachers out on our back deck, SK and I drove off for a wonderful lunch with some of our favorite people in the whole wide world.  People who are as close to family as they can be without actually having the same blood.  And while Beve was talking with passion about mattering and belonging, these friends were talking with passion about a people they have a heart for across the world in Africa.  They spoke of the amazing ways God has connected them with others who have hearts, the same passion and the structure to help them in this cross-cultural ministry.  I was wow-ed not only by their stories but by their awe at God meeting them.  We're always so surprised that God shows up.  He uses this little woman asking this small question to get that large, important person to cross country so that he can be just where he needs to be so that he's where God wants him...just when He needs him to be there. 

Now I admit, I'm as surprised as the next person, certainly as in awe as my friends. And it is well and good to be in awe of God when He works and moves among us. And wholly right to give Him glory for it.  May it be far from me--from any of us--to ever take it for granted that He does so.  But the truth is, of course, God shows up.  I mean, He's the head of the "Belonging and Mattering" Committee.  He invented it.  We matter.  Each of us.  God shows up for us.  That's what He does.  Maybe it's easier to see when we're so far out of our easy lives as my friends are when they're sweating 24-7 in Senegal.  When they're dead on their feet, at the end of their rope and have to rely on Him for every single breath.  Maybe it's only then that the blinders are taken off enough that we can see Him as He is every single day. Right there, showing up. Doing things on our behalf.  Because we matter, we belong...to Him.

The trick is how to live here with our Iphones, IPads, IPods, I--Everythings as if He was the one-touch at our finger-tips.  You know?  How do we live in this kind of world and still recognize Him when He shows up?

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