con·nect·ed – adjective
: joined or linked together
: having useful social, professional, or commercial relationships


Saturday, I sat around the table with seven other writers participating in our writing groups’ first-ever writing retreat. When I arrived a few minutes late, I chuckled to myself as I walked in to a table full of laptops, writing journals, pens, and coffee. It was like my own home office on steroids.

Throughout the day we reviewed our group’s shared past, planned for our collective future, and participated in writing activities. We talked privately in two’s and three’s. We worked together as a whole group. We sat individually tapping away at our laptop keyboards.

But my favorite part of the day – which is really my favorite part of the group as a whole – was finding the common threads that weave in and out of our lives, that bind me to these women, and bind them to others. Not one of us came to the group by walking in off the street and stumbling into a meeting. We didn’t take out ads or make Facebook announcements. We are all part of the group because somehow or another we were already connected to each other.

I like being connected to people.

It’s Sunday morning, and my husband and I show up at church a good hour and 15 minutes earlier than usual. This isn’t a Daylight Savings Time error. We’ve come to a different service because we have plans with my family later.

“I’ll bet all of these people think we are guests,” I whisper to my husband, because I don’t recognize any of them. We normally go to the 11 a.m. service, so the 8:45 crowd are virtually strangers.

Then, I begin to see a few people I know. Two couples from my Sunday School class and their children; a man and woman from another Sunday School class we have visited. Our son’s piano teacher sitting behind the organ. The pastors that serve the church in both services.

I settle in a little more comfortably.


After the service, we go to Sunday School, a Bible study combining many different classes for the duration of Lent. We arrive early, and again, only strangers. Slowly, the members of my class, along with others I know, trickle in. The pastor who took part in our wedding leads; the teacher of our own class offers up an answer during the discussion time. I meet someone new next to me. I relax a little more.

As we are leaving, we stop into the sanctuary to see our boys who are with their mom this weekend and have come for the 11 o’clock service. We know they are there, sitting near the front in our family’s row, because that’s where we usually sit. We say our “hellos” and give hugs all around. As we leave, people we know tease us about skipping out early. They notice we are leaving because normally we would stay. We all laugh as we part ways.

“It feels good to be noticed,” I tell my husband as we head to the car.

I like being connected to people.

Today, as I scarfed down carry-out noodles in between jobs, I picked up my advanced copy of Michelle DeRusha’s new book, Spiritual Misfit(being released April 15). In this memoir of finding an unexpected faith, Michelle also finds herself connected to a new group of people, especially at a time when she is struggling to feel God’s presence. At one point, Michelle and her sons are handing out food at their city’s food bank distribution center, and an elderly man smiles at her son and pats him on the head. The gesture touches Michelle.

“I felt something stir in my heart when I witnessed that quiet exchange between my son and the elderly man in the food line,” Michelle writes. She had been concerned about the lack of emotion she had felt in her new faith. Now she experiences something different. “I saw something deeply and profoundly beautiful there, something I never expected to observe at a neighborhood food distribution center. I recognized God . . . God’s presence was palpable and real.”

Later in the same chapter, Michelle reflects back on the experiences with the elderly man, along with other ways she has forced herself to be with people because of her faith. And she sees that it has made a difference: “I’m grateful for the God-glimpses, the flashes of love and light I see when I connect in a real and meaningful way with my community.”

My soul says, “Amen.” Because that’s what I’ve been missing lately, living in a new town away from my friends and family and the communities I’ve been a part of for years. I’ve been missing the God-glimpses that happen, not when they are orchestrated, but when they are quietly observed as people come together for the things they share in common: a meal, a cause, a hobby, a difficulty.

But I have been here a while now, and time changes things, not the least of which is me.

I like being connected to people.



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Photo by RaeAllen, via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License. Definitions of my word of the week are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.