In a book I recently read, A Trip Around the Sun, one of the authors, Richard Foth, writes the following:
"Time invested together is the best of temporal and the best of eternal relationship all at one shot. We should not then be surprised when what we think is an early morning breakfast with a colleague turns out to be way more than two eggs over easy. It becomes transforming."
Foth's words recently proved prophetic in my life.
A few months ago, a friend of mine, Steve Trivett, posted on Facebook that he was taking on new employment. I say friend in the loosest sense of the word. Steve is on the town council in Ashland and served as a liaison to the town Parks and Recreation Committee I'm on. The little I knew about Steve came through out periodic meetings together. To be honest, outside of those meetings I never gave much thought to what Steve does with the rest of his life. But there was something about his post about his new job that intrigued me.
I commented on Steve's post that I'd love to learn more about his new adventure. Steve replied that he'd love to tell me more about it someday. Many weeks passed and I'd long forgotten about our online conversation. For all I knew, our exchange had gone to that crowed place where good-intentioned conversations go to die when the people who had them get too busy to remember they were once important. But thankfully, a couple of months later, Steve surprised me when he brought our conversation back to life and invited me to lunch.
Over Chinese, Steve told me about his new role as the Small Business Manager at Church Hill Activities and Tutoring (CHAT). He'll be working with youth, helping them develop job skills, work experience, self-confidence, and much more. Having myself spent 13 years working in a program much like CHAT, I felt an instant connection to Steve as he poured his heart out about his new adventure. Steve told me he felt called by God to pursue this job, even though in many ways it would take him out of his comfort zone.
I personally get fired up listening to people talk about God writing stories in their lives that through most worldly eyes would look like fiction. Stories where the characters start changing the world in the most unlikeliest of settings. But Steve wore the truth of his story all over his face. It wasn't long before Steve and I were both wiping tears from our eyes as we shared our passion for working with kids who simply need an adult taking interest in them. We spent time together praying for those kids, and the role he and I and others will be called to play in their lives.
I walked away from that lunch with a couple of thoughts.
First and foremost, I needed to learn more about CHAT and how I could help my new friend Steve and the young people he was working with. Steve didn't pressure my family to support CHAT financially, but after that lunch I was anxious to explore how we could do so. What Steve did indeed pressure me to do was pray for him. Pray for his continued boldness in his faith as he shared his new story with more people. Pray that his leap of faith would result in a heap of opportunity for young people who simply need a guy like Steve and the volunteers he works with to share time with them. CHAT is now firmly planted on my prayer list.
The second thought and maybe a larger one; I need to be more intentional with all the time I spend on social media. By simply showing an online interest in an online friend's life, I had a real life opportunity to get to know someone passionate about making a difference in the world. As I walked back to my office, I reflected on how the magnitude of the time Steve and I'd just shared was born out of a routine Facebook exchange. How many routine moments like that is God trying to use to stir up something bigger in my life and in the lives of those around me? And how often does God miss the mark with his stirring because I'm too busy posting and not listening?
I've made a commitment to turn more routine, online exchanges into stories like the one I got to be a part of with Steve. One that is now a part of my life.
If you have a minute, I encourage you to learn more about CHAT by going to their website: Church Hill Activities and Tutoring.
You can also check out the Facebook page for Nehemiah's Workshop, which is one of Steve's big responsibilities and opportunities in his new role.
Here are a couple of recent pictures from their page.
Steve will be in the midst of a lot of smiles as the lives of young people fill with light.
It was a bold move for Steve, but something tells me he's right where he belongs.