I'm not sure about you, but sometimes here in the US, I struggle to find time to "sit a spell," as we say in Kentucky. For one thing, I don't want to overstay my welcome, and second, I've got a list of things to do waiting for me at home.
Spaniards, on the other hand, really do it right. They are a culture that values the importance of connection--real and meaningful eye-to-eye connection. They freely invest time and energy into the lives of others. They even have a special tradition called "sobremesa" where they linger after a meal just to chat. It's no wonder that many people want to live in Spain where life seems to slow down a bit. I saw and experienced the "sit a spell" practice. Folks lingered hours, and they enjoyed it!
To my knowledge, Spain ranks pretty high in the "most chilled nations" report. Of course, there is the siesta tradition which helps them to escape the heat and relax a bit as well.
Here in the US, we are connected all right, but sadly a good portion of our engagement is with our phones--I'm guilty, too :/
Have I told you how just a few years ago, when I walked into my classrooms on university campuses, I would have to hush the students who were happily yapping, chatting, and laughing with their classmates in order to get the class started on time. Nowadays, I walk in to face complete and utter silence which remains until I say, "Tuck your phones away. Let's get started."
In the photos above, meet some of my new Spanish and Anglo friends from the Diverbo program.
Spain is intentional about creating lingering spaces. Outdoor cafes and cozy meeting spots on nearly every narrow, cobble stoned street and in the plazas invite passersby to pull up a chair. Flowers, stunning landscapes, and vistas set the peaceful and magnificent backdrop.
Even with the throng of folks meandering in the ancient plazas and the sounds of city life, I had to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming as I sat surrounded by the historic buildings and structures. What?! I am having a Coke Zero right here in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid? ! This cannot be!
What exactly is the art to lingering? How can we develop this practice in 3 easy steps?
1. Be determined to slow your life down just a bit. Set time in your day to connect face-to-face with someone important to you. This can be over coffee, soda, or a meal, while exercising, exploring, crafting, you name it! It might be a group outing or a more intimate one-on-one. And if distance separates you, use video chat or simply schedule a weekly call. Doesn't matter. Just decide to connect!
2. Be prepared to engage both receptive and productive communicative skills--or put simply: be ready to listen and talk. This is how you will really get to know someone and how they will know you!
3. Make this a daily or weekly priority. You're thinking: Wait. There's nooooo way.... The truth is people do what they want to do. They spend time doing what they value. It's really simple. Here's a challenge: Track your time for one week to see if there is any wiggle room in your schedule--you might just be surprised!
The benefits of consistently connecting with other humans is off-the-chart incredible to your soul! Essentially, you are building a safety net in your life! You are developing purpose and extending all these advantages to others at the same time! It's quite rewarding and will bring joy into your life!
Of course, we can apply the art of lingering to our relationship with God. Your "joy factor" in life may be directly correlated to the time you spend with the Creator of the universe.
Sadly there are seasons of my life when I would have to say I put God on the back burner. I miss out on tasting the goodness of who God is. I take advantage of Him. I ignore what He is trying to teach me. I overlook the blessings He bestows.
My message to Him is "I've got this. I can do my life just fine on my own. I mean, I'm glad you're there, but you really aren't that important to me at the moment. I am too busy for you right now. I appreciate all the food you give to me (and other life necessities) but as to sitting a spell with you, nah. Listen, I'll let you know when I need you, k?!"
Gee. Can you imagine if we did life this way with our family and friends? Wouldn't make for much of a relationship, would it?
What happens when we find joy in fostering relationship is that we want more and more of it. It becomes a cry deep within our soul. We just won't hit hit the mark unless we are communion with others, including God. I hope you discover the art and joy that lingering brings to your heart!
Draw near to God and
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