To celebrate 100 years of women on mission for Christ, my church invited #1 New York Times best-selling author Laura Schroff to visit and share her story. Her uncommon connection with an eleven-year-old beggar named Maurice on the streets of NYC transformed her life, and it impacts yours and mine as well.
How does this video documenting a homeless child social experiment make you feel?
I teared up during it because in the expression “we are all students of life,” we obviously have so much to learn. It made it clear to me that I can do better in living out God’s mission; we all can. Far too often, we retreat to the comfort of our ignorance, wealth, titles and technology, failing to open our eyes and see people right in front of us who need our help. Be it a classmate, friend, homeless person on the streets, or an acquaintance with a response to “how are you?” that isn’t just the socially acceptable “good”, we are constantly failing to recognize or turning a blind eye to opportunities to share God’s love. I am humbled by God’s grace for us as we learn to be kinder to one another and to have more compassion. Furthermore, I am amazed by His power to use simple acts of kindness to change lives.
Another takeaway from the lecture that I always need to be reminded of is that there is so much to be grateful for. Schroff recounted the first time when she took her new friend Maurice to her sister’s home for a family dinner. He said he had never eaten in a room just for dining, at a table filled with laughter and conversation of loved ones. Sitting down to dinner with my family–something I regarded as a child as ordinary, expected, or shamefully, an interruption to my homework or Sims game–is a profoundly wonderful blessing. There is so much to thank God for every single day; each breath we take is a gift.
Lastly, I was moved by Schroff’s description of the idiom “an invisible thread.” This simple Chinese proverb that I’d never heard before last week and she found in a greeting card is profound. The idea is that there are invisible threads connecting people who are destined to meet regardless of time, place, and circumstance. When I think of my boyfriend who I met in a gym a month before leaving for college or one of my closest friends all the way from Jamaica, I know that it’s true. God loops us together in powerful, life-changing invisible threads; we just need to take the time to realize and follow their pull.
A final phrase of Schroff’s is still on my mind: “I don’t know which direction the lifeline was cast, from me to him or from him to me.” It’s so true that often we don’t know how far we are from God’s heart until we meet someone who makes it obvious. Over-focusing on work and consuming ourselves with busyness as Schroff did (and as is the American way), can cause us to miss out on impactful moments with people God wants us to encounter. Schroff’s use of the word “lifeline” shows the importance of following the pull when you feel it, of welcoming meaningful connections with others at any time.
Hopefully this will get you thinking, living in the moment, and looking for the invisible threads in your life that God already strung. I’m right here with you, trying too.
What do you think of this notion of invisible threads? Who have you been drawn to and how has it changed your life?