I walked into church and saw the most glorious thing. Sure, it was just a chair. Location, location, location. That chair was in a corner!! I nearly sprinted to claim it. As we settled in, Hubs gave me an eye contact high five. I had scored the prime seat. Wall behind it. Wall to the side.
That particular day, I had left the house with something on my mind that I needed to get on paper. An idea to sketch out.
Normally, I would have been hesitant to do so, haunted by the likely judgment and curiosity of those around me. But not this time. This time, I was in voluntary solitary. The possibilities were endless. The kids were in childcare for the next 75 minutes. I could slump against that corner and nod off. I could get a bunch of ideas out of my head and down on paper. I could catch up on texts and emails and the world would be none the wiser.
Corners can be quite strategic. A corner provides a wide angle view of a room. Corner offices are coveted for their privacy and/or window views. Corners provide back support and places to rest. They create the best view out. There is something that feels incredibly secure about a corner.
On the flip side, there is something incredibly dangerous about a corner. They create the best view out but they create the worst view in. There are limited vantage points to observe what’s in a corner. Corners can allow people to isolate.
If I needed to nod off or get stuff done, I probably just should have stayed home. My motivation for showing up to a church building at the same time as other church attendees should be to worship God together & to grow as a part of that community. A community isn’t a collection of isolated units. It’s a weaving together of individuals.
What I needed that day was God. And I needed to need Him out in the open.
Not in a corner.
When we moved to Florida for our year assignment, I was looking for a corner. I wasn’t looking for friends. As I had once heard it said: my friend card was full. I wasn’t looking for responsibility – I had plenty of that. I wasn’t looking for feedback, because I wasn’t looking for judgment.
But, really, I was moving from one corner to another.
In our previous, permanent, now “on pause” life, I had backed myself into a cozy corner. Comfortable at the surface, no courage required, no questions asked. I could be slumped against the wall nodding off or multi-tasking like it’s my job. People might ask questions, but I was good at answers; nothing pressed uncomfortably deeper and all seemed fine with that.
When I got to my Florida-corner, I was happy to see that my physical placement supported my need for being walled in. Our apartment was tucked away from the core group. We could come and go as we pleased. We skipped the first get-together; made an appearance at the second.
Don’t be noticed, but don’t be so unnoticeable that they notice you are unnoticeable.
Fly under the radar, but also slightly above it.
In my corner.
But, I didn’t need isolation in a corner. I needed God out in the open.
It wasn’t long before I noticed God was doing a work in my heart. I felt an unexpected tug back toward people. My silently declared independence was beginning to erode. Those walls ‘beside’ and ‘behind’ slowly came down.
The corner was deceiving. It seemed safe, secluded and un-obligated. But growth doesn’t happen in the corner. I was made for connection. I was made for community. I was made to sit in the middle, discovered and surrounded.
You may see me sitting on the edge from time to time. But even from the occasional corner, I’m realizing my primary need is to be out in the open, linked up with others.
That’s where life transformation happens.