This week we finished up our "Village Girl" Book Study. As I told a friend, I could sit down with a perfect stranger rattling on for an hour about how beautiful of a thing this group has been to me. My heart has tripled in size.
When planning our last meeting I told myself I was going to take a chill pill before we gathered. For this last meeting I wanted to hear the girls talk more and wanted to provide them with some free time to peg each other with Nerf darts in my front yard after we finished our six week session on kindness and other virtues.
But as the days got closer I knew I had to get one more lesson in, a lesson that they needed...Maybe it was something you and I need to be reminded of too.
A few months ago I observed something common. A girl I'm fond of walked up to a group of girls who were already deep into conversation. This is a tight group of girls I might add. They spend a ton of time together. When they're together they're surely in their comfort zone.
I quickly noticed that the girl who approached them began to pace the outer perimeter looking for a physical opening where she could stand amongst them rather than remaining on the outside. This was unsuccessful. She eventually walked over to two other girls who were talking. She joined that group and all was well (for as long as I watched.)
As I reflected on group one, it became apparent to me that they hadn't intentionally excluded the girl. Their circle was formed so tightly that they likely hadn't noticed her. This happens all too often.
After spectating, this whole great idea of something called a movable part began to form in my head. I later encouraged the girl who had chosen to join another group. By leaving the group that you weren't able to fit into, you acted as a movable part, I cheered her on. You found that there was another place where you fit nicely, but that doesn't mean you should stay just there. Be a movable part rather than a stationary part of a group or circle.
In the days leading up to this last Village Girl meeting, I decided that all girls needed to be reminded of the value in being a movable part and I knew just the way to show them.
I ran to the mall looking for a single glow stick necklace. Instead, Target provided me with a tube full of fifty glow stick bracelets...EVEN BETTER. I used one as a demonstration and handed out the others as a reminder.
Not letting any imagery go to waste, we talked about how a glow stick is still a glow stick when it comes out of the package, but it increases in purpose after being broken and shaken. Much like a glow stick, our own lives are something to behold when we've been broken and yet we become increasingly light-giving in spite of (actually because of) the shaking we endure.
-Back to being a movable part-
I attached a glow bracelet using the connector provided.
Here you have a circle, I told them. This represents the comfortable group of peers we hang out with. An extremely valuable part of this circle is the moveable part, the piece of plastic that joins the circle. You can settle on being a permanent part of a circle or you can choose to be this piece right here.
By being a movable part, you can open up the circle and invite an outsider in.
By being a movable part, you can remove yourself from a circle that has become unhealthy. This can be necessary (at least temporarily) when the group you're in is participating in something like gossip or in unkind treatment of someone inside or outside the group.
By being a movable part you can traverse and become parts of different groups as is fit. You might find someone alone or discouraged. Use your movable part to form a two person circle. As you relate to new people you'll learn new things. You'll become bolder. You'll become more compassionate as you hear about others' experiences. Your life (and the lives of others) will be richer for for your finely-fashioned flexibility.
Being a movable part isn't always the most comfortable choice, but it's the right choice. Jesus had his twelve, but loving on the least and the lost and the far away was his mission. He taught these close friends to do the same.
Come follow me...and I will send you out to fish for people. Mark 1:17
Talk to your kids about the importance of being a movable part. Encourage them to branch out. Teach them the value of being friendly in a world full of people who could use a friend. Make sure your own friendliness reaches out, finding purposeful ways to connect.
May the Lord make your love increase
and overflow for each other
and everyone else. 1 Thessalonians 3.12