Thursday, April 2 2020 - 12:39 PM
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Why We Need People

Earlier this week one of my young female friends was sharing some of her frustrations about her mother-in-law. She related that as she prepared a meal and listened to her “mother,” she became increasingly confused and exasperated. We laughed that she found great relief by chopping salad vegetables. Lots of kinds of vegetables. Several of us provided a reality check about her family situation. She needed some mature women’s reactions to her dilemma. And we found it helpful to have her young adult insights as we thought about our children. I simply love this kind of give and take between friends of differing generations.

One week ago my husband and I attended our small Friday evening worship group. I shared something I had written and we looked up Bible texts and talked. Most of that group has been together for about 18 months. The members often share concerns about mutual acquaintances, work, and family members. The next day I met with some teachers in my women’s Bible study class. I went to that meeting with a heavy heart uncertain about the future of our longevity. We ate together, shared concerns about family and class, took a walk, and together came up with a plan. I left heartened and relieved.

I belong to three small groups that usually meet each week. I suppose every year for about 10 years I have belonged to at least that many groups each week. Perhaps I’m always trying to compensate for my own small family — a rural childhood, a small church, one sibling, a father without siblings. Something within me yearns to find a sense of belonging. Connections with significance.

I am enriched by friends and acquaintances with a variety of ages, cultures, abilities, religions, and backgrounds. I collect friendships as if filling my lifetime album or treasure box. I thrill to introduce friends that I believe need to know each other. And I especially appreciate those people who have known me for a length of time, know my struggles and pains, family joys and challenges. I am usually encouraged and enlivened by having experiences of intimate conversations. Research has shown that people who have deeper, more nurturing relationships, are happier and healthier. I am so thankful for my groups and the meaning they bring to my life.

I love a good salad — with lots of kinds of vegetables. Our problems seem diminished as we chop together and mix.

Chew on II Corinthians 1: 3-7.

Questions for personal journal or group discussion:

1. Is there an interest, hobby or service that could connect you to an existing group in the community or church? What advantages or disadvantages do you see for joining a new group?

2. What kinds of discussion topics could bring your group or family into a deeper level of sharing?

Karen Spruill writes from Orlando, Florida.

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About Karen Spruill

Karen Spruill

writes from Orlando, Florida.

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