FLI_112713_talkingI just shared a beer with a buddy. He had texted me earlier in the day asking if I was available to hang out after the kids went down later that night. After I let him know it would work, I began to get nervous. Why? Because I thought he was going to offer words of encouragement or be gracious and listen to me about some current life struggles. I was nervous that someone was going to listen to me! Just. Listen.

Are you kidding me? Who doesn’t want that? Deep down, we all do. In fact, I believe that every person in the history of the world has three desires: to be known for who they are, to be loved despite who they are and to be significant. That being said, when push comes to shove, it is more than a little unnerving when you actually start talking deep and vulnerable stuff to somebody and wait for their response. But that is what connection is all about. Connection is about entering into another person’s world from a posture of care and heaven forbid, allowing someone else to enter into your life as well.

So, I ended up sharing a conversation about white loaf suburbia and legacies and family trips over a vanilla bourbon stout on a Sunday night. Both were good. And somewhat similar: dark with elements of sweetness — alive in a way that causes a transformation of how you see things. And even though they were relatively inexpensive, both took time and effort to craft. Connection is listening to another person dream and being able to picture it — not as I would want it, but how he would want it. The privilege of creating connection is the opportunity to look a friend in the eye and ask his or her opinion or to ask if he has really thought through his ambitious goals. And connection is the pleasure in sharing the joy she or he has for how they will be significant. We are headed toward a season meant for (among other things) connection with friends and family, but is typically stuffed with scheduled events that most of us just try to “get through,” often at the expense of relationship. Make time to connect. Every day. Pause the party to listen to someone. Be aware of your time with that person. Engage their words and attempt to see what they see. There’s more than enough good beer to share. Or tea. Or walks. Or …

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