Two years ago when I met with my new small group for the first time, I was so reluctant. I didn't know if I could ever find the sense of belonging and spiritual family I had enjoyed with my previous group. But they welcomed my wife and me into their lives with arms wide open, and we soon became family. This group has not replaced my other group (nothing ever will), but it has become another circle of life, love, and learning.
I've learned a lot from them this past year. Here are a few things I think are well worth sharing:
- Laughter is the fuel of life. I can't tell you how many times I was going through a hard time with my wife, my kids or work, and I came to my small group with tanks empty. There were times when I was tired, sad, or pressured at work, and they just made me laugh—knee slapping, tear-producing laughter. From practical jokes to the ironies of life, I just love how we can take what we do seriously, but not take ourselves so seriously. There were so many times I drove home saying "I needed that!"
- I long to belong. I love being "in." I love being "a part." I love being "included." My group has consistently reminded me that this isn't only the needy, group-happy Brett, but a God-given desire, a divine calling, a pathway to a healthy, balanced and, yes, even a Purpose Driven™ Life.
- Pain is universal. It's just not always visible. When I've seen my group share their pain (as in hurts, struggles, temptations, etc.), it makes me want to share on a whole other level. We have had cancer, parent health problems, marital issues, teenager chaos, emotional brokenness, job transitions, children leaving home, surgeries, heart scares, financial fears, etc. And when we go below the water level of our hearts, there has been gold there for me. Why? Because it makes me feel I'm not alone.