My wife and I are planning to make some improvements to our garden this year, and one of the things we’d like to do is plant a new miniature apple tree. We like planting trees. It’s fun to anticipate what a newly planted tree will become in the years ahead. But there’s the rub: “years ahead.” Because if you want to eat the fruit from a tree, you need to give it time. A lot of time. You need to let it grow, put down roots, and become part of the ordinary, everyday scenery. It’s only after you look out of the window for years at the same old tree that you start to be able to reap the full harvest of fruit and shade and beauty and all that a tree can be in its maturity. By that time, the tree is nothing like new. The initial excitement of planting eventually gives way to a more settled appreciation and enjoyment of the tree as a part of everyday life.Continue reading The Same Old Faces
Walking and eating are two of the most fundamentally basic human skills—the kind of things we learn in infancy. But I have found that walking and eating are also two of the most powerful contexts for experiencing human connection. What do we suggest when we want to see someone? More often than not, it involves eating at some point. Or walking. Or both.Continue reading Two Powerful Skills You Already Have
Last Friday evening, I finally got around to cleaning and washing the car, and refilling the windscreen wash. I can’t remember the last time I did any of that, which might tell you something about what it looked like before. The next morning, telling jokes along the way, my children and I walked out to the car to drive to basketball. When we got there I noticed that the driver’s side door frame was bent several inches away from the car. When I opened the door, I understood why: the steering column had been torn apart and the ignition wires were dangling loose.
Someone had tried to steal our car.Continue reading How An Attempted Car Theft Taught Me To Love Where I Live Even More
Cliques. They’re awful, aren’t they? We love to hate them (probably because we feel like they hate us). They’re easy targets for our criticism, all selfish and exclusive and proud, and who do they think they are treating other people like they don’t matter and barely exist at all? Cliques are bad.
That is, until we’re in them. But the cliques we’re in aren’t cliques at all, because cliques are one of those odd realities that can only be seen and recognised from the outside. From the inside, they look completely different. From the inside, all we can see is camaraderie, companionship, support, and fun jokes that no one else understands. Who calls their closest friend group a “clique”? Maybe it happens, but I’ve never heard anyone use that name for themselves and their own friends. As far as I can tell, the name is always applied to other people in other groups—especially the groups we happen to feel a particular sense of exclusion from.Continue reading How To Turn A Clique Inside Out
He put down his coffee cup and summarised the problem:
“All I do is work, and take care of the children. When I get free time, I’m tired. I could go out, but what would I do? I don’t have friends to go anywhere with.”
He’s lonely. And he’s not the only one. He may not realise it, but he’s got plenty of company in that feeling. There are so many variations of it, in so many different kinds of people—married, single, young, old—and the feel-good Christmas movies and songs playing constantly right now only highlight the problem more.Continue reading A Great Way To Make Friends
I took a walk on someone else’s street, someone else’s everyday avenue, in someone else’s city. To me, it was all new. I’d never seen the buildings before, or the trees, and the next corner was a complete mystery that drew me on to look and discover. I didn’t know anyone who lived there, or who their cousins were, or what church they were baptised in. But they knew.Continue reading Someone Else’s City