During English Paper 1 in my Leaving Cert I chose the essay title ‘Making Connections’. I wrote about being adopted and the massive ‘connection’ I would be creating if I was to look for & (possibly) meet my biological mother. If I’m honest it was a rehash of an essay I’d written during the year and got a reasonable grade on….. And it’s always very easy to write about yourself! I don’t remember many details but I know I described my Mum & Dad and would have said that my Dad was a teacher & very supportive of my education etc. My parents always spoke of how although ‘they had chosen me’ that the adoption agency had also been happy to select them as prospective parents, as they had been informed that my biological father was smart & if I was any good in school Dad would be the perfect person to foster this ability. In hindsight, I’m not sure how true this was but it helped us all feel we’d been matched up for a reason. And gave us a connection.
For me ‘making a connection’ to my birth mother & colliding my “40 weeks gestation & then 5 days with her in a maternity hospital in April 1980 world” with my present life & family was a huge undertaking that I never (as I wrote in my essay) envisaged being able to undertake. Fear of the unknown was a massive factor in this. Thankfully it was an emotional roller coaster I finally felt able to ride 9 years after that essay & she is now a part of my present day life again. More about all that in a future blog (maybe!).
Re-connecting to a biological parent when you have 2 perfectly good (in fact, in my case, fantastic) parents is thankfully not something many of us have to deal with… But we are ‘making connections’ all the time. This is especially true amongst people who share a common purpose or are part of church. I love the fact that if you meet another Christian you instantly have a shared understanding of the world, a mutual sense of what the other person cares about and an insight into their life values before spending too much time together! And although all our faith journeys are different and culturally & socio-economically our life experiences vary greatly there is an instant connection and (you’d hope) the fundamentals of our faith are the same.
Unity in Christ is a very real thing that I don’t believe is mimicked in any other sphere of life.
Yes, you can be from the same area, enjoy the same pastime or work in the same profession but none of these similarities affect the very essence of who we are & our outlook on life, in turn giving us perspective to influence how we operate in the world. The Bible gives specific instructions about our relationship with other believers : encourage one another; build each other up; make every effort to put others first; teach, rebuke & admonish one another in all wisdom; be compassionate & humble; forgive one another etc.. In Corinthians 1:10 it describes being “perfectly united in mind & thought”. Powerful words that enable us in our friendships…. & that almost uniquely Christian interaction – fellowship.
In the last 2 years I have a new best friend (which doesn’t happen very often in your mid 30s) and I love the connection we have made. She is also a mother in the local school and our daughters are in the same class. It turned out that she also lived in our housing estate but unfortunately has since moved. Although I only know her a relatively short time we have a depth of friendship & understanding that feels like we’ve known each other a lot longer – it is definitely a ‘God thing’. My new best friend may even say it was an answer to prayer for her as she had come back to God after many years and lacked Christian fellowship. Of course, without a faith, we may have still become friends, but I think our friendship jumped to a new level and we had a greater depth of connection sooner because of our shared outlook and faith in Christ. I love how that works and I am grateful to God for her!
The very essence of our relationship with God is all about connecting with him.
It makes sense therefore that we are to connect with each other. And these connections have a supernatural element. They are more than human thanks to the Holy Spirit (1Corinthians 13:14).
My essay all those years ago talked about one aspect of my life and a connection I never dreamt of being able to make….. It transpired that the essay was read out at a Markers Conference where they read sample papers for each grade so the teachers marking papers can standardise their grading. I know this, because a colleague of my Dads (who taught English in his school) was marking that year and listening to the sample essay started to identify with some of the details…. Dad being a Physics and Maths teacher and my placement in a family where any potential educational ability would be encouraged etc. She contacted Dad and asked him what I wrote about in my English essay…. confirming her suspicions. It afforded me the opportunity to find out my score on a specific part of the paper before I knew my overall grade, which was novel & doesn’t happen very often! (It supposedly being anonymous & all that…..)
Making connections can mean all sorts of things to various people but as part of the body of Christ connecting to each other as believers with different skills & gifts serves a greater purpose, builds up the body & should be about extending his Kingdom here on earth!