Guest post Tuesday, guest post Tuesday! We’ve got the lovely and my real-life friend Cari with us today – and the moment she shares is just scrumptious. And as I’ve seen with my friend, and as you’ll soon experience through her writing, Cari offers this world the gift of presence. Check out how that happened one night on a mattress under a bridge.
I glanced to my right and saw Mike, Bob and Bongo. The three men lived under a bridge down the street from my house. Over a period of a few weeks the three of us had become friends. Knowing, I had told the three that I’d be bringing dinner on this particular evening I checked to make sure they were home as I drove to mine. I noticed something new in their spot. The three men had acquired a mattress and were all sitting on it as if it were their living room. Somewhere inside of me I knew, I just knew that I was going to have to sit with them on that mattress.
I arrived at home and quickly prepared the meal. The whole time I was distracted by the lingering thought of joining these three men in their new “living room.” I pulled dinner out of the oven, filled Tupperware containers and pulled together the necessary plates and silverware placing the contents in a bag big enough to carry it all in one load.
I walked the half block to the spot where my friends lived. We greeted each other and Mike without skipping a beat says, “Cari, you must join us. My mother would find me so rude if I didn’t offer you a seat on our new furniture.” With that, I sat down. There I was a 30 something female sitting with three men nearly double my age on a mattress, underneath a bridge in the middle of San Diego. If only my mother could see me now, I thought to myself.
I passed the plate around and set the food out. Mike asks, “You’ll be joining us tonight won’t you?” I hadn’t planned on it. In fact, sitting on the mattress was already a little above and beyond the call of duty. But, I had no reason not to stay and I did refer to these men as friends, and friends, they eat together. For the next hour and a half the four of us sat on the mattress, breaking bread, telling stories and sitting not as helper and helped, but as true, equal, peers and friends.
I sat. I ate. I became friends with. And, I changed. No longer was I satisfied with being the helper. No longer was it enough to hand out food to those in need. No, I saw that it was in sitting among, eating with, asking questions and listening to the stories of these men that I was with them instead of over them.
When I reflect on this one event in my life I understand, just a bit more, the power, beauty and significance of the story of Jesus. God who was over, became God who is with. Immanuel, God with us. I am so thankful for these three men and the friendship we formed. And, I am so glad I chose to forgo my idea of safety, comfort, and position to enter the story of another, to be with; truly, purely and wholly with. For I was the one who was changed for the better.
With 20 years of local church experience, Cari uses her gifts and experience to make the Kingdom of God tangible through relationship as a creative, connector, encourager, pastor and missional strategist. Her love for the church and the individuals who make up the body have created a deep desire to see the Body flourish as individuals root themselves in Jesus and extend themselves to the world around them. In 2007 Cari founded The 11:29 Project; a work dedicated to fostering sustainable and thriving leaders. Through this work Cari meets with leaders around the globe, who desire to make the Kingdom of God tangible in their spheres of influence, for discipleship, soul care and encouragement. Cari lives in Denver, Colorado and often finds herself in Los Angeles, California where she serves a community of young creatives seeking to influence the world through their creativity. So, how did Cari’s story invite you in to being present? How did her one little moment CHANGE you? Encourage our friend today!0