Each week I meet with some college students and this summer we are doing a book study on Donald Miller’s book Blue Like Jazz. It provides some great discussion for us on non-religious thoughts on faith. By that, I mean the text helps move us to think upon relationships, not religion. Our relationship with God and with others. It is very challenging and encouraging and convincting and well . . . you get the gist.
Our assignment this past week was to walk up to people that we normally wouldn’t talk with and ask them to share either their greatest fear or their greatest dream and then we were to take a picture with them. I met three ladies of varying ages in my quest to complete the assignment. It was a great challenge. It was uncomfortable. Would they think I’m a freak? I even made sure to say that I was part of a book study, not Bible study, so they wouldn’t worry that I was one of those in-your-face Christians that unfortunately seem to be the poster children for Christianity.
But in engaging these assignments I made connections with three friends I hadn’t met yet. On any normal day where I wasn’t intentional about practicing the presence of people, I would not have given them much thought. And I most certainly wouldn’t know what I know now about them- their greatest fears and their greatest dreams. Complete strangers sharing intimate secrets. Vulnerability is so rare these days – even among folks who would not be classified as strangers by certain standards such as our family or co-workers. Yet we are strangers in many ways because we are not vulnerable with one another. I would venture to say that it is probably easier for us to be vulnerable with strangers who we think we’ll never see again. They are less likely to rat us out. Less likely to wound us if they fail to handle our secrets with tenderness and care.
I thank these ladies for playing along with me and being real. It was a highlight of my day to connect with them in such a deep and real way. There simply isn’t enough of this real vulnerability in our world today. And especially not in our churches. Which is sad and not very much like a place where God reigns.
So, are you wondering what they said was their fears and dreams? I hope so. I pray you gave them enough thought as you read this that you cared to know.
- One young lady named Katy said her greatest dream is to own a horse farm.
- Lisa said her greatest fear is being disabled.
- And the third lady who didn’t share her name with me said her greatest dream is to travel the world. Her greatest fear is to go blind. She is an artist who paints and blindness would rob her of that joy.
See what I mean? What a great day! I can’t believe I miss these kinds of conversations with friends I haven’t met yet.