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  • Kelly Marks

Togetherness

How many times have I lamented, “If I can only get through this day, this week, this month…” thinking I don’t have time to do the things I enjoy or see anyone that won’t be checking an item off of my to-do list? A lesson I learned long ago regarding church just happens to have far-reaching life tips.


Of all the cousins in my family, there are only 2 females, myself and Lynn. She and I are tight; we text every single day. We try to get together as often as we can, but life gets in the way sometimes, especially when we don’t make that extra effort.


I’m very lucky to have a cousin like Lynn; she has an amazing sense of humor, and we often laugh at pranks we plan to execute one day. She is also a nurse and has talked me off of the ledge a couple of times when I’ve called in a panic when Paul or Madi was sick.


Many years ago, Lynn and I went to Asheville for an overnight trip. She and I have talked about it since, and I’m not sure we were actually on the same trip. She remembers so much more about it than I do. Half of the time, I smile and say, “Oh, yes, of course I remember,” just to keep her from checking me for Alzheimers.


The one thing I remember vividly is a dinner we had. I can still picture the restaurant, where it was located, where we were seated, and how busy it was, but most importantly, the conversation we had. She had read a story and relayed it to me.


A preacher was sitting in front of a fire talking to a man he was trying to convince to attend church. As the conversation continued, the preacher gently pulled one log away from the others in the fireplace. A little later the preacher explained how the single log continued to burn but not as brightly or as strongly as the ones who were together. We are like that log. Individually we still carry on the cause, but not with the strength and vitality that we can when we’re together.


I had left the church at that point, convinced that I could be just as spiritual without church as I could be with it. What Lynn said made sense, but I couldn’t concede the argument at the time because we are family after all, and she knows how stubborn our family is. But I thought about it. A great deal.


With covid, everyone has had a different comfort level, and people for the most part, have been very aware and accommodating of that. When Omicron hit, I went back into hibernation again, as did many people. I started “going to church” on FaceBook. And only recently have I started attending in person again. I can’t explain how good it is to be back with these people I love.


Andy Conder, the preacher at St. Francis, had to be out for a while, and even though she came back earlier than anyone expected, she explained that while she could’ve used the time away to recuperate, she needed to be back with these people. She said online worship is fine, but there comes a point when we just need to be together. It feeds our souls.


In her book, The Artist’s Way, author Julia Cameron, talks about our “inner well”. While she’s talking about it as an artistic source, it is also true for our mental, spiritual, and emotional selves too. She says, “If we don’t give some attention to upkeep, our well is apt to become depleted, stagnant, or blocked.”


Aside from the science that proves that being social can help reduce depression and keep our memories and brains sharp, spending time in the company of like-minded people whether they be believers, artists, coworkers, or just friends makes our lives better. We need to make that extra effort to spend time with each other. I guarantee it will make everyone feel better. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go make plans to visit my cousin.




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