Love is Practicing the Habit of Connecting

by Craig on January 5, 2011

Naming a year is the easy part.

This is my year of connecting.

The year that the “one”,

becomes one of the “one anothers“.

And if I am to be about


I have to follow through,

and go about doing it.

A daily practice

A willful direction

It doesn’t matter that it’s scary. It doesn’t matter that it might hurt. It doesn’t matter if I’ve already been hurt. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know how. It doesn’t matter that it would be easier to just pretend I never named this year. It doesn’t matter that I’d rather not try,

because it’s safe being just the “one”

and the “one anothers” ?

They might not want me to be part of  the puzzle.

Still, love connects,

so I will connect,

because I really heart love.

And is there ever a better place to start than right now, right here?

At Ann’s blog over 90 Christians linked and chose their words for the new year.

I read every one. I didn’t skim. I didn’t rush. I read all the words lined up like stripes on a flag. I wanted to connect through these words with the people. I wanted to feel what was behind both.

So I read,

and I read,

and I read.

Astounding people, thoughtfully, prayerfully choosing a name for a year.

I prayed for each and every one. To realize this year, what they have intended.

I have prayed this for you too. You who read me. You have been pieces to my puzzle. I’m so thankful for you.

And God has helped as well. As many of you know, he’s given me this new…

this …

new …

… thing.

I have felt, truly felt the pain I’ve seen. I’ve really shared in sorrow. And it’s hurt – deeply. I haven’t enjoyed this empathy. It’s made me sad, and wrenched my heart a little. To feel someone elses’s pain? That can be agony. And it’s new.

But this empathy might also have a flip side, a happier side. Right? I am asking here, so please, share. I’m not sure yet, I’m just discovering.

I know it sounds silly, I’m not a young guy. I should already know this,

but it’s true,

it’s new,

and it’s deep.

So I need to find out. Will this connecting show me, that the same heart that can feel the pain of someone else, can also share the joy too? That would be nice.

If only sorrow was never present without someone to care.

If only hope and joy were never alone – but with someone to share.

That would be nice too.

So the year has already started. This unpredictable one of connecting. I have no idea what to expect. But I know most of you do.

Here goes catch up mode as I begin practicing the habit of connecting.

Ignatius of Antioch, around the year 80 AD, wrote, “It is dangerous to imagine that one could offer God suitable service on one’s own.”

He knew we needed connection.

I know this now too.

But the thing that’s most scary is…

…what if it’s just as dangerous connecting?

In God’s Love

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymuss January 5, 2011 at 2:24 am

Craig, I generally read your posts, think about them, then come back and reread and then comment. Not always, but mostly. This one I am commenting on now…first time read through. You connect so well. Truly connecting is a sure way to more pain, and as you have asked, to more joy as well. My heart floods with joy when someone whose pain I connect with personally gets to experience a blessing, a good. People I have connected to and shared their pain and joy with begin to feel like my sisters and brothers. Closer than family sometimes. Very close. So their joy is close, too.

You will likely have a very rich year if connecting and sharing in this way is a goal. I hope God richly blesses you with people who will share and care, too. Craig, that you took the time to pray for each and every one of the 90 at Ann’s…you care. Wow. That’s huge. It comes across when you write, too. Connecting and heart go together.


Craig January 5, 2011 at 8:30 am

Thank you A.

The praying? No big thing. The feeling of their words, the meeting through those words, that was – well that was special. People after God’s own heart. And thank you for sharing that the flip side to this “empathy” thing is possible. God Bless


Debbie January 5, 2011 at 2:25 am

Praying for you, now, as you pray for so many of us . . .this year of your connecting. I heard of this choosing a word at another place, so didn’t know where it originated. I have a couple of things that all kind of fit together . . .connect. Joy – living joy – and deepening relationships. The connecting questions, yes you get to share joy too, not just pain. And the pain shared is lessened when shared somehow. Praying for you to be blessed beyond measure for each connection you make!


Craig January 5, 2011 at 8:32 am

Clever – I saw that “fit together…connect” – funny. And now both you and A. help me out with the flip side being possible thing. You are a blessing. Thank you Deb.


Stephanie January 5, 2011 at 5:53 am

Craig, I am so happy you found me on my blog and I yours. I love to read your words. I can feel what you are saying, I CONNECT to you. I love that you love. Keep writing and blessing us with your words.


Craig January 5, 2011 at 8:35 am

Stephanie, thank you.

BTW I’ve commented a couple of times but they are invisible? Confused.

Again thank you so much for reading my words. God Bless.


Eryn {mamahall} January 5, 2011 at 7:40 am

i am praying for a successfully connected year for you! you are off to a great start because i, for one, always feel connectivity when your words pop up on my screen. a lot of people connect but not everyone puts their heart into it like you do. admirable. even if you aren’t a ‘young guy’ :)
keep writing, keep loving, keep connecting. God bless you!


Craig January 5, 2011 at 8:38 am

Thank you for the prayers Eryn – Lord knows I need prayers. Your words are wind to sails. God bless.


Lisa notes... January 5, 2011 at 9:24 am

You are such a brave man. And a dedicated one. I am inspired by your commitment to your year of connecting (and I love the puzzle piece picture, btw). I can’t even begin to imagine all the ways God will bless you through your efforts to be a blessing to others through connecting.

Eph 3:20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
Eph 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.


Craig January 5, 2011 at 9:40 am

Thank you Lisa, – but not so brave really – a big shield of faith in front of me though – makes it good for hiding – and advancing in small steps:)

and your verses? a beautiful reminder to me that the connecting is vertical first – horizontal second – and always with his power – not my own. God Bless you.


Lisa notes... January 5, 2011 at 10:57 am

Thanks, Craig, for letting me know about my bad link at Holy Experience. I corrected it, but wouldn’t have known if you hadn’t told me. Glad you helped me get connected right. :-) Pretty cool.


Craig January 5, 2011 at 11:10 am

And you know what – here’s some proof I need about the “flip side” of feeling stuff deeply.

You feel good about fixing the thing – and I really feel that – there might just be a flip side to this whole “empathy” thing God has dropped on me:)

I really feel the “happy” you feel. That is good. Thank you Lisa.


Amber January 5, 2011 at 11:53 am

Oh Craig, I look forward to the end of 2011, so that I can hear all about how you connected. It is a vital part of the life God has called us to. There is much joy that comes along with the pain, somehow, though, the pain often shines brighter.

I have not read through or viewed Ann’s Word for the Year, but your post has me thinking. I feel I know the word I would choose for 2011, but I am standing on the edge of a cliff, afraid to step out prayerfully trusting God to give that word wings.

BTW, thank you for your sweet comment on yesterday’s post. It was greatly appreciated. Know that I read them all, but limited time prevents me from always responding.


Craig January 5, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Amber, your blog is always fresh air to read – don’t worry about commenting on my comments. My reward is just getting to read your stuff. That’s enough.

God Bless you and yours Amber – and thank you.


Susan January 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Congratulations! You have chosen a good, um nope-a _great_goal word for this year! Connecting, feeling, pain, joy (not necessarily in that order) is what makes us human, imnsho. Sharing our joys&hurts “spreads it around” so to speak-it lessens the hurt, and multiplies the joy, in my experience. I *never* used to cry-maybe once a year at a Kodak commercial, or th ASPCA ones (they bring torrents of sobs now, with all my pet&feral Hx). Now I cry with joy more than with pain-because I always hid the hurt, but took other’s on willingly. Now I share both,and I get back twice the joy as sharing an other’s pain. You know my Hx of monitoring disease lists, not being prepared for the depth of pain&despair, but *being* there,listening,caring,loving. Now I get it. And the joy is the reward. You will be rewarded, truly. And you will shed those tears,too. The joy IS worth the pain. -s-


Craig January 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Thank you Susan. The more I hear the joy is worth the pain, the less this darned “feeling the pain of others thing” hurts – actually no – it still hurts – but it makes it “worth it” as you said.


Kim January 7, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Craig, I’m so glad you connected with me through Ann! Your words are a gift, connecting my heart to God in ways my own words, which are much more about my head than my heart, never do.Your prayers are a gift too…and today I’m praying for you.


Craig January 7, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Thank you Kim, I have to admit – being new to the connecting thing – I’m actually not used to having people pray for me. This could be interesting. :)

And thank you for these really kind words.


Caroline January 8, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Craig, just by reading others’ posts, you are definitely practicing connecting. Your words of encouragement and support visibly deepen connections between believers and “habit practicers,” evident by the comments left here and my own feelings. I do agree, too, that God created us for connection… I love the many verses that reference encouraging and fellowshipping with the “family of believers,” among others. (Verses like Galatians 6:9-10 and 1 Peter 5:8-9.)

Lifting up your connected year in prayer. Thank you for yours (and for visiting my blog… I sincerely appreciate that you did so).


Craig January 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Caroline thank you. I think later in the year, on my other blog, I may actually do a study of what I call the “one another” verses – you know, all those verses where the words “one another” are used – the ones that tell us how to treat each other in the church. It’ll fit right in with the connectiong thing.

Thank you for coming by. God Bless and keep.


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