“It’s All About Connecting!”
That was my signature line in the Full Circle program opener. Being somewhat addicted to “show and tell”, the declaration was reinforced with an action. To this day, the sofa sisters mimmic my arms sweeping together until two hands touch!
Separation and isolation due to the COVID-19 Pandemic has amplified our need for connection! Medical doctors have expressed a deep concern due to the physical decline they’ve been seeing in their patients as a result. A UK study found loneliness to be a greater predictor of early death than smoking, obesity or drinking.
Developmental psychologist Susan Pinker says,
“Humans need face to face contact as they need air and water. Those surrounded by a tight knit group of friends who regularly gather to eat and socialize, live an average of 15 years longer than loners.”
As we girls gathered on the Full Circle couch in a semi-circle, our ages representing four different decades, we tackled as authentically as possible, the real issues of our lives. We invited the women watching to complete the circle, with Jesus at the centre.
The concept of shared life was championed by the apostle Paul;
“We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.” 1 Thessalonians 2:8 NLT
He’s also responsible for many of the approximately 50 “one another’s” in the New Testament. God’s design is that we “encourage one another” in the journey as members of His Body. We are Family!
Dr. David Jeremiah in an interview years ago said,
“We cannot become all God meant for us to be, alone. We need each other for spiritual maturity.”
God establishes things relationally. Rick Warren refers to the Friends/Community factor as “the secret sauce”.
Ken Shigematsu in his wonderful book God In My Everything says,
“It’s hard to overestimate how the presence of a fellow pilgrim in our lives can keep us walking in the way of Christ.”
Despite current limitations, and the emphasis on virtual connecting, as Susan Pinker says, “We need to focus on human interactions and build them into our day. It affects our health, happiness and learning, into the future.”
Dr. Larry Crabb changed his whole counselling model as a result of this epiphany: “The power to meaningfully change lives depends not on advice, but on connecting, on bringing two people into an experience of shared life.”
Hopefully, that’s the legacy of Full Circle.