When I began planning my crazy Birthday Month of Connections event series, I seriously wondered if anyone would show up. It’s summer, and people want to be outside. People are tired of being on Zoom. “People wouldn’t be interested in hanging out for my birthday,” thought my negative mind.
But… people did (and are) showing up. Some have even said to me they are tired of Zoom work meetings, but they are looking for something more casual. They want an opportunity to talk to someone besides their spouses, their colleagues, their children. As it turns out, in the time of the ‘rona, people are craving connection. People have jumped online, brought their cocktails or lunches, and had a great time chatting it up during my birthday month gatherings with people they didn’t even know.
Is this craving just spurred by the lack of social connection brought on the coronavirus social distancing practices? Or are our circumstances just intensifying a craving we already had?
We all have routine social connections that we get at work or school, the gym, game nights, birthday parties, and all manner of other gatherings. Maybe those routines had become ruts, overused worn habits like a dirt patch worn in the grass. Interacting with certain people — even a lot of people — fills the void. Kinda. When those routines are cut off, as they have been in the last four months, the sudden change may have caused us to start wandering to the refrigerator, looking for a treat that wasn’t even there.
During these gatherings I’ve asked questions like, “Where do you see hope?” That’s not standard happy hour or birthday party conversation, but I always want to go deeper. And you know what? People engaged. They answer the question. They share these responses, with total strangers in some cases.
Maybe what we were craving — but, didn’t know it — was a more authentic kind of connection. Spaces that invite us into conversation with people who are different from our usual crew, but who are willing to go deeper and wrestle with questions of meaning and purpose. Particularly since we find ourselves in times of unprecedented change. Especially because we find ourselves in times of unprecedented change.
Whether we were aware of what we craved or if we were just randomly opening the refrigerator looking for something that wasn’t there, this is the kind of community that we desperately need in these times of challenge and change. Because our routines are disrupted; because we can’t do all the routine things to fill the void; because we know we must use this time to change.
Change is happening to us, whether we want it or not. Changing with grace takes a community of kindred spirits who are going to challenge you to stretch yourself beyond the bounds of what you thought possible. A community that will see you and the gifts you can offer to the world in a new way. A community that asks and answers the hard questions, over and over again.
Are you looking for some connection? See what’s on my event schedule. Might be virtual networking. Might be webinars. Might be a retreat. For sure will be fun. Learn more here.