Every story given to us and every story told to another is a precious gift that has the potential to seed us with God. —Dan Allender
As he served me a mouthwatering steak dinner, he sat down kitty-corner from me and asked, “What three things would you like me to know about you right now?” His invitation was new and drew me toward him. My little brother Matt is hysterical and witty and shameless and thought-filled. I thoroughly enjoy him. Yet, it isn’t often that I have the privilege of swimming beneath the water line into deep waters of the heart with him. His question felt like an invitation to journey with him there. Without hesitation, I dove into deeper waters.
Hello to the invitations that birth a beautiful undoing.
As I shared with Matt and my sister-in-law Megan about a really difficult part of my journey this year, he leaned in and met my gaze. As I brought my story to a close, with the deepest sincerity he said, “I’m sorry.”
His with-ness provided the safety needed for my emotions to rise up from soul depths and I choked out the words, “Thank you.”
Then he sprung out of his chair, wrapped his muscular frame around me holding me tight, and cried over my story.
He cried over my story.
His compassion and tears seemed to gently open my grip on my emotions and in his embrace, our tears merged.
People experience the life-changing force of healing relationships when something powerful comes out of one and touches something good in another. —Larry Crabb
Journeying with others is mysterious. Sharing stories of loss and wrestle can feel unnatural to us at times. We can let fear prevent us from extending an invitation to wade in the deeper waters of the heart or respond to another’s invitation. Some of us think we should just focus on the positive. We may think that if we invite another to swim with us beneath the waterline, it will require our own exposure and that feels uncomfortable. There’s a chance we’ll feel judged, unobserved, pep-talked, corrected, or fixed if we offer our deeper stories to another. We may fear that we won’t know how to respond or find the “right” words.
Yet if we courageously invite and respond and dive into the relational unknown, there’s a chance that we will experience communion with another soul who is also seeking to find his way in this broken world. There’s a chance that another’s with-ness will pour life-giving power into our souls, enabling us to taste the divine relational longing imprinted on each of us.
Ordinary people have the power to change other people’s lives…The power is found in connection, that profound meeting when the truest part of one soul meets the emptiest recesses in another and finds something there when life passes from one to the other. When that happens, the giver is left more full than before and the receiver less terrified, eventually eager, to experience even deeper, more mutual connection. The power to meaningfully change lives depends not on advice, though counsel and rebuke play a part; not on insight, though self-awareness that disrupts complacency and points toward new understanding is important; but on connecting, on bringing two people into an experience of shared life.”
Entering into the experience of shared life with my brother did seed me with God. Through Matt’s gaze, I experienced the Father’s gaze. Through his tears, I experienced Jesus’ compassionate heart. Through his embrace, I felt wrapped by the Trinity’s everlasting arms. Through Matt, I tasted the incarnational reality of a curious, attentive, embracing God.
Is there someone whom you might invite to share with you something they’d like you to know about them this week? Your with-ness has the potential to seed God in another.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” —Galatians 6:2
Written by Lisa Brockman. To read more of Lisa’s writing, visit lisabrockman.me. Her book, Out of Zion: Meeting Jesus in the Shadow of the Mormon
Instagram: lisabrockman_me. Facebook: lisahalversenbrockman and lisa brockman author page.