Things That Matter

Nate Sullivan

Published 10 August 2020

About two years ago, I moved across the country to live in Angel House with six strangers.

At the time, I didn’t know anything about the things that really matter: facts about the Titanic, the brand of green curry that works best when you’re cooking with tofu, which theaters in Chicago have the best musical productions, the lyrics to every Lady Gaga song, how well waffles and chocolate milk pair in the morning.

Maybe you don’t know it, maybe you do—but these things matter.

They matter to me, at least. And I’m willing to bet that if they matter to you, too, it’s because you’re close with someone who cares about them. Friendship has this odd little way of making seemingly obscure or irrelevant pieces of life begin to matter, because they’re close to the heart of the person you’re connected to.

Last year on my birthday Christianne told me, “You matter because you matter to me.”

Her message has slowly unfolded for me in the months that have passed since I received it. I think about it a lot, actually. These words remind me that significance, meaning, care, and importance only come into fullness through true relational connection; through loving friendship. It is less about whether we are people who matter, and more about who we matter to and who matters to us.

One person caring about us is enough for us to be a person who is cared for.
One person knowing us is enough for us to be a person who is known.
One person loving us is enough for us to be a person who is loved.

And at the end of it all, this is what we all really need and long for: to be cared for, known, loved, just as we are.

As I reflect on my time in Angel House, I see so many pieces of others’ lives that have become part of my own, and so many parts of my life that now matter to others. The gifts, the challenges, and all the spaces in between. This way of shared living has helped me to embrace God, others, and myself in ways I didn’t know I needed, will likely never be able to articulate, and am grateful to have lived.

May we all continue on the journey toward the things that really matter, starting and ending with each other.