String and Connections

It is hard when you hear people have left your church. When one does, sometimes more follow. I heard so recently. I didn't know about that. I was devastated.

So I went to this beach pictured here afterward for over an hour to just recover from the blow. After meditating before this beautiful river I live on, I finally came to a place of repose again. I have fond memories of this beach. This is the beach where we came with all the people of this church when we first came here in 1995. The church back then was 3 or 4 times larger than it is now. What fun we had! Beautiful memories. But I have changed. And the church has changed. Granted.

Last year I did an experiment with the congregation. I heard rumors that a lot of people were feeling disconnected. So I got a huge ball of colored string and brought it to church Sunday morning. I gave the ball of string to one person and asked her to keep the end of the string and give the rest of the ball of string to someone she had thought about this week, or prayed for, or loves, or feels especially thankful for. Then the person she gave the ball of string was invited to do the same to someone else, and so on. We did this for over half an hour, and by the time we were done the room was criss-crossed with string, string everywhere, so that it was impossible to walk around the room to pass the string on to the next person. We had to toss it. People got the idea. We are all mysteriously and invisibly connected.

That's good! It's good to be so connected. And it's good to recognize it and appreciate it. But here's the down side: when one person leaves, the pull on the friends left behind whom they are connected to is sometimes irresistible. Frequently, their closest connections are pulled along with them. And it is painful to watch and experience.

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