But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought nearby the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace. – Ephesians 2:13-14
Sometimes, especially when all of the headline news is so mind-bogglingly preposterous, it’s nice to take a stroll through Wake Forest, soak in the small-town charm, meet with a friend over coffee, and just rest in the moment.
Sunday I wrote about the benefit of community worship (“Why Church is the right place to be, even if you can’t imagine being a believer”), and my column generated some interesting conversation; now today I’m reminded of how important community is all week long. In my experience, community grounds me and helps prepare me to navigate the craziness that so easily consumes us.
I don’t just explore these relationships on Sundays. I also meet with a group of five or so guys every Saturday morning, a gathering of eight to twelve men Wednesday evenings, and one-on-one sessions for coffee or lunch during the week. Then there’s the monthly group of men’s ministry leaders I chat with by phone, as well as other out-of-state heart-level relationships I’m invested in.
Simply put, we need one another; we need solid, authentic, relationships; we need places where we can be our authentic selves and safely wrestle with ideas; we need the perspective and we need the grounding.
I think that’s why I like this town so much. In many ways Wake Forest is a long, deep breath; a good cup of coffee with a real friend. I’m developing a long-term heart-level relationship with this place and it reminds me of the deliberate pause – stop, breathe, look around, drink in the simple goodness of this life – that is necessary for each one of us if we are to successfully navigate all the absurdity that is the out of control world around us.
We all need people, and places, where we feel safe and where we feel in some way held accountable. These places and these people are a large part of what makes my life so rich and so good.
And I am grateful – DEREK
(enjoy these photos of downtown Wake Forest, and my neighborhood)
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.