February 27: Searching

 

Lenten Devotion: Searching


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Searching
Mark 1:35-39

“Everyone is searching for you,” they said.

Jesus had just healed the whole city, the writer of Mark tells us. No wonder the people wanted him. Word had gotten around quick.

Several years ago, I found myself searching, too. I wanted—no, I needed—a lot of healing. I was living in Los Angeles. Lost in my own debilitating confusion of self-worth and sexual identity. Life was slow, cloudy, and numb to say the least.

But one day, I went to a neighboring town (just like Jesus does in the text) to launch a community art project, and something incredible happened.

I spent the morning asking people one question: “What do you hope for?” It was a simple way to have a real, honest conversation about what was going on in people’s lives. When I didn't feel connected to myself, this became my way of feeling connected to the rest of the world.

And so, I talked with all sorts of folks: cab drivers, baristas, homeless people, bellhops—you name it.

And I just listened.

I listened to stories about dreams for the future.
About family members taken away by the state.
About undiagnosed physical pain.
About students going off to college.
About miscarriages.
About childhood trauma.

And in the middle of those raw, honest stories, I listened for the glimmers of hope that always pierced through.

After a day of conversations, I turned the corner to go home, and a jolt of electric energy hit me. It was an energy that knocked me literally to my knees and brought tears to my eyes. I looked around and felt connected to the deepest part of myself—and the deepest part of every single person around me.

I felt united with the Spirit.

This was the healing I needed. The start of it anyway.

In my most vulnerable moment, it was listening that brought me to the Spirit. Not just hearing, but intently, openly, fearlessly, compassionately listening.

This Lent, take some time to do some listening with a stranger. Stop someone on the street. Ask them what they hope for. Have a judgment-free, agenda-less conversation.

The Spirit is there. No matter where you’re searching.

Sam Lundquist
SFTS MDiv Student