Thursday, November 06, 2008

Los Angeles Conversations

I was looking on facebook tonight like I usually do reading the statuses of everybody and trying to see what they were up to and I came across one from one of the group leaders whose group I hosted this summer at CSM in Los Angeles. Her status said that she was remembering the people of San Julian Street and the kids at Wyvernwood. My heart sunk for two seconds as I too began to remember those people and those kids. I quickly rushed through the files on my computer to pull up pictures from this summer and as I began to look through them I began to pray for God to give me some sort of release or for a person to walk in that I could tell a story too. I was dying in that moment to share a story from this summer with someone. And then at that exact moment my friend and co-host Becky from this summer got on facebook chat and we began to catch up on our lives and then we reminisced about this summer and the people who we met and the stories that we heard and the smiles we saw and tears we cried. It was an answer to prayer right there in front of me and I was more than willing to accept.

In all of this I have realized the amount of joy something so small can bring. A simple conversation made my day so bright. As I sit here and think about it I am processing through the different things that happened this summer, and I have quickly determined that the things that rank as favorites in my mind are the conversations I had. Conversations with Sister Luz, Robert Jones at Midnight Mission, Pastor Greg at Lighthouse, Different group leaders and students, My co-hosts, My bosses, Darren, and everyone else. Those conversations were amazing and I am just now starting to realize the impact they are having on my life. I probably won't realize the full impact for years to come, maybe even the rest of my life.

However, here is what I have realized. Conversation is huge.....both parts of it, willingness to talk and be vulnerable, and willingness to take a time out and sit down and listen. Key words here are willingness, vulnerable, and listen. I learned this summer that the more vulnerable and real you are with people the deeper your relationship can go, the more both of you can learn, and the more God can work in the midst of your life. The things that have happened in our lives have happened for a reason and if we don't share them with those around us then we are not being vulnerable or real. I'm not saying that we share all of our deepest darkest secrets but vulnerability goes a long way. As does listening, like I said in my last post, people need to be listened to, they crave it. Everyone has a story they want to tell, but they are waiting for someone to sit down and listen. Unfortunately our country doesn't allow us the time to do that. Our country wants us to be constantly on the move. Doing that is the direct path to destruction and loneliness. Where have the days of endless meaningful or even meaningless conversations gone? EVERYONE WANTS TO BE HEARD!!

The last key word I mentioned was the word willing. How willing are we to do what God wants us to do? How willing are we to stand up for what we believe in? How willing are we to sit down and have a conversation?

I guess I'll leave you with....

Are you willing? What do you need to give up to be willing? What's getting in the way?

I need to give up (me) my selfish desires and reasons for doing what I do, I need to stop getting in the way of myself!!

-Peace Out,
Mandi, CSM Los Angeles City Host Summer 2008

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