It’s a Small World

It’s a Small, Small World

By Steven J. Callis


My family and I just wrapped up a one week vacation at the beach.  It is always good to get away, and equally good to be back home.  The forecast called for isolated thunder storms every day, but we were blessed with mostly good weather.

There was one afternoon when thunder and lightning sent most of the beachgoers running for cover with their chairs and towels and umbrellas and coolers – by the time I had showered, the sun was out, and the skies had returned to their beautiful blue with white fluffy clouds, and some of the more determined beach enthusiasts were lured back to their favorite spot by the ocean, only to be caught in a second downpour.  I heard one of the locals exclaim that weather forecasters in his town have a very difficult job!

On another day I had engaged a family of three in conversation when the wife mentioned that she liked my shirt.  It was a gray shirt with “Walk for Life” printed on it, along with reference to a biblical truth, “He knows my name,” and a cross.  I explained that Walk for Life is an annual fundraiser for the Pregnancy Resource Center and Clinic in Douglasville, and went on to explain the services and ministry of PRC which I wholehearted support, along with my church.

I noticed their facial expressions grow from normal to a slight grin that seemed to increase as I informed them about PRC, indicating their pleasure and approval.  She finally responded that their church supports The Gabriel Project near their home in Charleston, West Virginia.  The description of that ministry included the very same characteristics as our own PRC!

We marveled together at how ironic it was to cross paths 7 hours away from home and have something like that in common.  That simple link to another family, discovered because of a t-shirt, gave us a connection that lasted through the week.  And on a grander scale, I have come to realize, as have you, that simple common bonds can be found nearly anywhere, serving to break down walls of isolation to offer a sense of universal kinship.

The only time I have lived outside the southeast was during my years as a seminary student in the Midwest.  Being newlyweds, far from our friends and relatives, an older couple in the church we attended invited my wife and me to their home for Christmas dinner.  Not only did we enjoy a great meal and a fun afternoon together, but we discovered in the course of conversation that we were distantly related!

These are only two of many similar examples I could list where threads of commonality run wide and deep to connect us with other people.  In nearly every instance, the discovery of commonality was made because someone took the risk to step outside their own little world and reach out to another person, which led to the idea that, in some ways, it is a small world in which we live.

For the sake of our community and our world, let us choose to build on our commonalities towards connection and unity.  It usually does not take much; a smile, a handshake, a friendly greeting while waiting in line at the checkout register – are you curious to know what you have in common with the person seated across from you in the waiting room of the doctor’s office?  Differences are inevitable among members of the human race, but discovering and building on our commonalities increases the strength of our unity.

By the way, among the last of our shopping stops was a place called Crabby Jack’s General Store.  The forty-something man behind the counter asked where we were from, which quickly led to the fact that he is a native of Douglasville, graduate of Alexander High School, and resided here all of his life until he moved to the coast two years ago.  It really is a small world!

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