What Happened Afterwards

He did a good job. I applauded him.

The word came across strong and clearly. There was enough in it for me to take something and think it through afterwards and I was already thinking of how I could converse about it with others afterwards. Yet it was the afterwards that really made the difference.

Afterwards I spoke to someone about the struggles I was facing in some aspects of my work life. They heard me out and didn’t patronise me or endeavour to appease me by glibly saying they understood. They considered what I was saying and just sought to understand it and show a degree of sympathy which relieved me to know they would be there with me.

Afterwards there was a conversation between three of us and the way in which we felt free to just be ourselves even where we were briefly misunderstood or where we disagreed was refreshing for me. There was something of far greater importance than disagreement on a matter. That driving value made it all the more important to at least seek to understand before we needed to be understood. The genuine warmth and hospitality among us and the desire not to impose ourselves but still be clear and free to express made the experience truly energising.

I am not painting a picture of an idyll. There is still much to do in terms of carrying those relationships into truly sharing life over the week and expanding our understanding of the Kingdom beyond the time of gathering. Yet these relationships have a huge impact on me. So that even as I applauded his words after he spoke so clearly, with such conviction, I knew that he wasn’t speaking to impress. He was speaking as part of the process for which the key to the serving afterwards would be those afterwards moments.

It is why I applaud him knowing that more important than his words are the lives changed in actuality afterwards.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

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