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  • Shawn Swinney

There's More Going on Here

There’s more going on here...

While walking into the Darling Deli I noticed a nice dog left on a lead just outside. I had barely crossed the threshold when the dog launched into barking and growling. By instinct I turned back to the door as if to protect someone from the dog. The person the dog was angry at was not another dog, or a child, but it was the postman. The postman tried to befriend the dog, but after a few attempts resorted to crossing the road to pass by in safety. I tried to lighten the moment by saying, ‘I guess it’s true what they say about dogs and postmen’. To which the postman said, somewhat frustrated that people don’t know this, said ‘it is, it is’.

That exchange made me wonder. What about postmen would cause dogs to dislike them? Immediately a theory came to mind. What if dogs are frustrated by the way postmen cross into the territory of the home, daily, without actually engaging those that live there, only to swiftly leave? It might not be the reason, but there is clearly more going on here.

Often we come across people or situations that show there is more going on than we are aware of. In relationships a single comment or interaction might be met with a flood of emotion, because there’s more going on here.

Often leading churches I find it difficult to make it easy for people to come to church and explore a relationship with God. Not because people aren’t interested in things that are spiritual, but often because there is more going on here.

As people we always carry with us a deeper world then what we portray to people around us. We have memories that might be good or bad. The world for us is laden with meaning.

What might it mean for us to tune into the deeper world of people around us?

When my wife was in her twenties there were a string of days in which random people shared personally with her often amid floods of tears. This occurrence happened so regularly that it became somewhat comical. What they were sharing, however, was significant and required proper attention. For example, one day we walked into a building on campus in Vancouver, Canada. My wife simply looked at the mother of a young family and this mother crumbled. Our plans had to be set aside as my wife sat with her for thirty minutes to help her with the strain she was carrying. All this was with someone we had never met before.

I wondered later why so many people had shared so deeply with my wife over this period. It could have been a spiritual gifting for a season, but I think it was far simpler than that. My wife is good at giving people eye contact. People simply needed to be seen.

What might it mean for us to tune into the world of people around us? How can we slow down in such a way that people are seen, known, and cared for? It’s important, because there’s more going on here.


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