I am sitting in a coffee shop in tears, again.
I sobbed like a maniac in an Applebee’s in Michigan while processing our cross-country move as a fourteen year old. I sobbed like a maniac in a far-too-fancy Mexican restaurant downtown Austin a few years later when I found out we were leaving our church. Both embarrassing situations, but understandable. Long ago, my parents should have learned that talking about major events in public was not going to deter me from making a scene. In fact, I’m very sure an audience did nothing but heighten the production.
Fast forward a few years and I now cry in coffee shops, not because of major life events (Baby Emilie was so put-together. Rational emotions expressed in rational ways? I miss that girl.) No, no, I cry and make the people around me feel uncomfortable because of stories and blogs which do not relate to me in the slightest. Not. At. All.
Every Monday I write an email to the ladies of my sweet little rock ‘n’ roll church and in it, I try to stick a new encouraging blog for them to check out. I will read a handful of blogs throughout the week, find one that resonates with me, and keep it in the back of my mind until the following week when I can share it with them via adorable virtual coffee date. This week was no different. I found a handful of blogs that I loved. They made me cry a bit, obviously. This time, however, what resonated with me more than the blogs themselves was this thought:
I have absolutely nothing in common with these bloggers.
These writers make me tear up on a regular basis. Their words give me goosebumps. Their thoughts spur me on to live more boldly, more reflectively, more in line with Jesus. I consider some of them my spirit animals (in the least weird way, I promise. Or maybe a little weird, but I’m at peace with it. Move along, h8rs.) But they just get me, you know?! They’re nothing short of soul sisters.
And yet we have nothing in common. Most of my favorite bloggers are at least ten, some twenty years my senior. They have children and husbands. I am not kidding when I say they all have fantastic hair. They live in different parts of the world, ie. some of them spell “favorite” like “favourite” which, like , why are you making that word harder on yourself? Why? They also have this tiny little distinction of being rich and famous authors and speakers.
So how do their words reach me? Why is it that I connect so deeply to them? For that matter, how is it that any of us connect at all with our myriad of vast differences? How on earth am I, a young twenty-something with all of zero experience under my belt, delusional enough to think I can connect and relate to women who have children, careers, marital problems, health issues, actual money set aside in case of actual emergencies? (I have money set aside for emergencies too – it’s called “Dad” hardyharhar…*sobs*)
I think it comes down to two very simple things: Brokenness. And Jesus.
We all struggle with brokenness. We all sin. We’ve all felt pain. We all yearn for something beyond what we have/are/experience.
And Jesus heals us all. He forgives, redeems, sustains. He promises life beyond what we have/are/experience… eternal life, abundant life, life outside our petty complaints. He is the vine. The one vine. And we’re the branches – unique, distinct branches connected to one singular life source.
It’s easy to see the unique, distinct branches and forget the singular vine between them. It’s easy to feel “less than” the branch with the poetic words and flowing mermaid hair. It’s easy to feel superior to the branch who’s every conversation is nails on a chalkboard.
But whoever you are, whatever your life situation, wherever you live – if you believe in Jesus as your savior, redeemer, life love – we are connected. We are broken and perfectly sewn. Our brokenness may look vastly different, but the stitches are the same – gently performed by the same One who loves us all equally yet somehow very individually.
That’s why you can look around your church on a Sunday morning and see a beautiful hodge-podge of people with a hundred different stories. That’s why we can look forward to singin’ and dancin’ in heaven with billions of people we would never meet in a million years in this life. That’s why you may find me absolutely insufferable but haha jokes on you because we’re totally connected. And that’s why I can continue to sob in public while reading blogs that don’t apply to me in the slightest: Jesus connects.
No shame there.
**gently wipes tears from own writing**