We’d meet for coffee after church on Sunday nights. Sometimes there’d be five of us and other times, we were dragging tables and chairs around to make sure we’d all be within earshot of each other. True, we’d have just left a weekly church service of close to two and a half hours but we really hadn’t had the opportunity to visit. There was plenty to talk about, from the sermon to the music to playing catch-up on our lives since the last time we were together. We’d laugh, argue, whisper, apologize and even sing but regardless of how we were expressing ourselves, we were bonding over something more intense than religion, that being our need to dialogue.
What I recall most vividly about this group of people was how much we loved finding reasons to get together. One of the members of our “familyship” lived on property that had a rather large out building. She called it a barn but it never fit that description. It was more like a detached family room. It looked all the world like a small ranch house, complete with a cozy front porch filled with flower boxes and inviting chairs. Once inside, you found couches, several old dining room groupings, book shelves and a sideboard (which held plates, flatware and accessories to use when laying out a meal). Susan (our hostess) was an artist, so there was space off in a far corner practically bursting with shelves of supplies and projects in various stages of completion. Overhead lights and an eclectic mix of lamps made the space as bright or as intimate as desired with merely the flick of a switch.
We played cards there. Danced to music. Sang around the piano and held potluck parties all year round. It was as though we couldn’t get enough of each other’s company. The conversations ranged from deep and intense to light hearted and frivolous. Everyone was welcome whether they were part of our church family or not. Once you stepped through that door, you WERE FAMILY! We threw birthday parties and even offered workshops on topics ranging from tarot card readings to astrology and yes, painting.
Having a space in which to let our hair down and relax was great but it was the learning from each other that kept bringing us back. The ages of those in attendance ranged from infants to those well into their eighties. Marrieds, singles, the rich, the not so rich, gay, straight, bi, transgendered and even those who were still trying to decide, comprised our group. Why? Because we saw the value in learning more about that of which we were ignorant. We also found that by being open to knowing more, we became interesting to others and they wanted to hear what we had to say. Dialogue gave us the proof that if we stripped away the labels, we were all the same, glowing balls of light!
We learned to not be afraid of the perception of differences for we discovered that differences were merely packaging. Society prefers packaging because it makes it easy to identify someone or something at a distance. Think about it, most people can identify a food product simply hearing the description of the container. Manufacturers LOVE that about us! They want us hooked on their goodies because we are more inclined to grab something because we are familiar with it as opposed to deciding if we really need it at that moment. Gotta stock up, lest we run out. How would it look if we didn’t have it around for unexpected company…?
People aren’t products. Looks are often deceiving. And because of the guarded behavior so many have learned to exhibit, it can take several conversations to get to the genuine person. We take for granted that most people are too busy to even want to talk on the phone. We hold onto information we’d love to share because we don’t wish to impose. Sure, there can be a time and a place but there needs to BE a time set aside and a place designated to encourage the sharing. When we care enough to make it important to connect, we open a door to love. We release the constraints of ignorance and forge the bonds of awareness. It’s what the world needs now and will always need.
While many of those beautiful people from our original group, have discarded their physical bodies in favor of the freedom to live as Spirit, there are still those who recall the fond memories. The little church where it all started, has shifted locations to a larger building that has a meeting room where they host card games, parties, dinners and workshops. Susan’s barn is used more for storage these day by the husband and children she left behind nearly a decade ago.
You’ll find those of us who moved away (for whatever reason) living all over the globe. And while we are no longer within an arm’s reach of each other, we carry the lessons of what dialogue taught. Perhaps you’ve met one of us unaware. We’re the ones who smile quite a bit, are genuinely interested in what you say and love to pull up a chair so we can enjoy your company every chance we get.