Have you ever heard that phrase before?
You usually hear it when someone is telling a story or recounting an experience from among friends. They’re trying to accurately convey the joy, hilarity, goodness, or whatever was awesome about that time, but then their words fall short. Then they opt to say, in lieu of their words, “Well, I guess you had to be there.”
Sometimes that can sound like a disappointing end to an otherwise intriguing story, but many times when I’ve heard that phrase, I wish I had indeed been there; even if only to be a part of whatever wonderful experience this storyteller was recalling. I was getting wrapped up in the story, and I was catching the sense of gladness that was seeping through their words. Then, it ended and I was left to imagine what that particular joyful experience was like.
There’s a lot of that, isn’t there? We hear others’ verbal stories, social media posts, or whatnot, about some quality, joyful, face-to-face time experienced, and then we yearn for our own version. But then we sigh or frown, dismissing or rejecting that idea for ourselves, resigning or convincing ourselves that we’re just peachy without it. We might think, “Well, I just don’t have friends like that,” or “I’m not a very social person,” or “I’m social online,” etc. Pick your excuse.
I can understand and empathize with that, as someone who’s said one of those things or another, and often chooses to recharge personally, spiritually, etc., by myself. But I’ve also experienced the utter joy and sweet pleasantry I’ve encountered when stepping outside of my comfort zone socially. I’ve felt the deep-dwelling joy of when I’ve chosen to engage with other people or groups I’ve felt safe with, sharing of myself truthfully. I’ve experienced spending time with people who I thought I knew about, and then discovering that I had never even scratched their surface.
I’ve learned both the comfort and discomfort of all those times, and weighed out the risk and reward. I’ve learned that when I step into things He’s laid out for me, there are always rewards. I know it down to the seams of my soul that experiencing all those times was something I was created for, and attuned to.
“I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to do it with paper and ink. For I hope to visit you soon and talk with you face to face. Then our joy will be complete.”
2 John 1:12 NLT
So let me use this digital paper and ink to say this: we were created to be social beings! Face to face, and soul to soul. That’s when our joy becomes complete (and it will be fully complete once we reach our eternal life, arriving face to face with our Creator). There are special things that happen when we humans meet together, with Jesus at our centre.
“Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing, because we need each other! In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.”
Hebrews 10:24-25 TPT
We strengthen and uphold each other. We encourage each other. We can give our shoulders to lean on. We can give our grins and laughs. We can give our hands – physically or metaphorically – to help one another out.
So let us continue to bump elbows and rub souls, whether it be volunteering alongside each other, visiting the home of friends and family for dinner or board games, or saying a friendly “Good morning!” to someone at work, spurring some quality conversation.
Spending time with each other can be so satisfying, joyful, and just plain fun, and that’s because God made it to be that way! For when we walk in what we were created to, God always does good, and joyful things!