I get confused sometimes.
I’m not referring to walking into a room and forgetting the reason (though that happens all the time to, fo’ real). I don’t mean tossing one of my wife’s sweaters in the dryer when it was supposed to be laid out flat (but again: guilty).
No, my confusion revolves around relationships. Rather, the perception of relationships. Even better, the perception of what it means to build a relationship.
Whether it’s a comment on social media or a quick nod on the church sidewalk or an after-work wave to my neighbor, I often believe that I am building a relationship. Making a friend. Investing in another.
But those things speak more of intersection (in-tər-ˈsek-shən): the act or process of crossing.
Not creating a relationship. Crossing a path.
My friend Jason Gaston said something recently that I can’t shake: Interact, don’t just intersect.
To interact means that we go beyond the Facebook like or the sidewalk shuffle or the “Let me wave really quick so I can get in the garage and seal myself off from the outside world.” To interact means that we enter in. Interaction forces us outside of our comfort zone and disrupts our schedule. It hands the keys of our day over to someone else – even if only for a few minutes – and lets them drive.
But interacting is what Jesus did. And interacting is what he calls us to do.
Our staff is reading Next Door As It Is In Heaven, which – like most books in this genre, remind me with every page turn that I am a horribly self-centered and depraved person with a heart four sizes too small who would much prefer to live on a secluded mountaintop than to have to – you know – talk to people (shudder). The authors recount a story told by Peter Senge regarding the customary greeting of a South African tribe:
…the most common greeting, equivalent to “hello” in English, is the expression: Sawu bona. It literally means, “I see you.” If you are a member of the tribe, you might reply by saying Sikhona, “I am here.” The order of the exchange is important: until you see me, I do not exist. It’s as if, when you see me, you bring me into existence.
We interact when we go beyond perfunctory greetings and have a meaningful conversation. We interact when we set aside our schedule in order to serve a friend or stranger. We interact when we linger over a cup of coffee and pray for a friend.
We interact when we see people.
Are you interacting, or intersecting?