A whole day with a two-year-old and a five-year-old (including six hours in a van!) can be very educational. Naturally, I was educated about Circle of Hope. Our church is thinking through so many important things these days as we amp up for the future, that my mind is swimming with educable moments. One of the things the boys were teaching me is about communication.
Communication is key to connection, which is something every child wants and against which every child rebels—and that sounds just like Circle of Hope.
Theo is a babbling two-year-old. Completely cute and, if you have not learned his language (like Oliver has), almost completely incomprehensible (although I can always hear, for some reason, anything that sounds like “Papa”!). He made me think that we, as a church, are a lot like him. We’re like toddlers who are just getting language, but we don’t know how to use it that well. But we do a lot of talking: this website, the Way of Jesus site, at the Sunday Meetings, in circles of cells, blogs, the email lists. What is all this babbling about? Love. We want to connect. And, as Theo knows, connecting is not that easy.
Oliver, on the other hand, is an articulate five-year-old. He can recite the strangest factoids from the Discovery Channel—his father Googles his teaching to verify it! But at one point while we were waiting for the wedding ceremony to begin, I sent him on a mission to go around a nearby tree and come back (and use some energy he was saving up for a ceremony outburst!). He went to the tree and went around, around, and kept going around. Finally I shouted in a whisper voice, “You need to come back. They are going to start!” He looked at me as he was going around. Finally, to the amusement of the gathered guests, I got up and retrieved him. He also reminded me of Circle of Hope. There are plenty of us looking at each other, and at the “official” communication devices, and blankly ignoring them for a moment of differentiation, or just power grabbing. Who knows why we disconnect in plain sight like we do?
We’re like a big kid, this Circle of Hope. Some of us can’t wait to connect and are really trying to get heard, even frustrated when we are not understood. Some of us feel talked to quite enough and feel very sure of our place, even if we ignore the latest attempts to get in touch with us. We’re Theo connecting and Oliver ignoring every day. It was still a happy day—and Circle of Hope is pretty happy, too.
Last week we thought about hiring the Communication Director we put in our previous map. If we ever have the right person and have enough money that will be great. Because communication is key to love and we all need help with it. If that person ever gets hired, I guess they will be like me in this little picture I have been drawing. They’ll be the loving parent figure who is full of love and hope—hope that we’ll talk, hope that people will hear, hope that you’ll feel listened to, hope that you’ll be found when you are moving into some independence but still staying in earshot.