Tuesday, June 12, 2012
I knew I looked perfectly calm and sedate on the outside. Yet inside, the real me cringed and cried. Was I witnessing the death of someone dearly beloved to me?
No. I was alone.
Over-reaction. Total over-reaction. You're shaking your head now, wondering why you ever started reading this post in the first place. There she goes again...feeling sorry for herself. Blowing things way out of proportion.
You may be right.
But I may also be right.
I'm far less experienced than I wish I was. I know far less than I've tried to make myself believe in the past. And yet, I've seen what being alone can do to a person.
I've watched as people I knew and loved shed tears over being alone. Sobbed their hearts out; sometimes in my arms. I've watched tears roll down many a cheek---just because they were alone.
I've watched as others that I loved turned into furious monsters over just the thought of being left alone. I watched damage being inflicted on innocence because of someone's burning desire to not be left alone. They couldn't bear it; the thought of "alone" filled them with such terror and dread that they were ready to do anything to keep from being sentenced to that fate.
And I've watched still others, when left alone, retreat into shells and become impenetrable. I've watched them withdraw from everything...just because they felt alone. I've watched them lock themselves up inside; watched them throw the key away and dare anyone to try to break down the door. Some do--often it's in vain.
We're all afraid of being alone.
All of us.
Over the years, I myself have been guilty of every last one of the above-mentioned actions. I've hidden myself in a corner and cried...because I was alone. I've fought and inflicted damage on others...to avoid being alone. And I've withdrawn from the world; locked myself up and thrown the key away...to keep the pain of being alone at bay. I've pretended, faked, feigned and remained impassive to retain my image, yet the truth still remains.
I hate being alone.
It continues to happen, though.
And while it hurts, there's got to be a reason for it.
Being in pain is one of the best places to be. Really, I said that. You can be in no better place than pain, for pain turns your heart Heavenward. To God. To the One who loves you more than life itself. To the One who gave more than life itself to allow you the mere chance at eternal life and eternal bliss.
No pain. No sorrow. No tears of agony.
No more "alone."
Yet, Heaven isn't here or now. It's still coming: a not-so-distant, but seemingly receding reality. We still cry, we still hurt, we still feel pain.
And we are still left alone.
But are we really?
Am I really alone? Are you really alone?
Look up... Look up. To the horizon. Look at the sky. Hear the birds singing. Feel the gentle breeze in your face, and the warm glow of the sunshine. Soak it all in...
Now tell me, with a God out there who created all of that for you...are you really alone?
Friend, you're never alone. Never. Though no one on Earth stands by your side: though no one agrees with you, though no one understands, though everyone refuses to see how you see... You are never...never... alone.
God is there. If you look for Him.
And you will find Him. If you truly want to.
Warm summer sunshine, soft morning dew
the Earth is alive with wonder anew
Light falls around, beams shifting through
God's call is simple--it's from His heart to you.
Don't ever forget that no matter the test
No matter who loves you or who could care less
No matter if you stand alone in the world
No matter how many harsh insults are hurled
No matter the pain, or how alone you may be
You're never alone...
And if you're tempted to forget, just remember Me.
Take courage weary soul. The end is in sight.
You're never alone.
Friday, June 1, 2012
I watched the words appear on my little screen: sentence by sentence, I took them in, trying to devest my mind of self in order to enter the world in which my friend lived. They spoke of hurt, of pain; of denial and fear. I could sympathize. I knew those emotions all too well.
Then something that startled me popped onto my screen. My friend, in talking about past happenings, had mentioned that they had lived in close proximity with others for the mere thrill of doing so. Their close relationships only served as thrill for them. I knew the words were spoken in a negative way, and I could definitely see what they meant.
However, as I stared at the words still popping up on my screen, I began to think.
Surely not all thrill is bad, Lord?
I continued in the coversation; it trailed to another topic. But the thought of what had been said still lingered in my mind.
Is it really a bad thing to get a thrill from a friendship? I understand it being bad if you are focusing only on and living only for the thrill, but is getting thrill from a relationship that is God-focused and God-given a wrong thing?
In my morning devotions, I read a verse that seemed to confirm the eventual conclusion I arrived at the night before. Luke 21:34 says "And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares."
It was the "cares of this life part" that caught my attention. Jesus is saying, essentially, that we shouldnt be so caught up in the everyday, normal, good things of life that we are unfitted to receive Him with joy when He comes in the clouds of glory. He didnt say that the cares of this life were evil or that we should shun them; He said to take heed, and be careful of becoming so absorbed in them that we lose sight of Him.
Thus, my question stands: Is it wrong to experience thrill from a friendship?
No. Not if my interpretation of this text, of God, and of His character are correct.
And yes. If the thrill is the only thing you focus on; if thrill and feelings are what your friendship is based on.
Too much of a good thing, you might say.
As I write this, Im on my way to work. Sitting in the car--and in my lap is a sprig of lilac. I picked it just before we left. The smell of lilac with fresh rain drops on it must be one of the most heavenly smells ever created by the Lord. And Ive been enjoying it thoroughly. But suppose I became so enamored with the smell of lilac that that was all I lived for? All I spent my money on? All I thought about, talked about....?
Ridiculous example, I know, but stay with me.
Lilac is a beautiful smell; I cant think of anyone who doesnt like the smell of real, fresh lilacs. However, when you take a deep draught of that scent, and let it wash over you, and you smell again and again, you start to notice that the smell diminishes. It isnt as strong anymore. Often this might be the end of it and you'll either walk away from the bush or throw the flower down. But really, the only trouble was that your nose got used to the smell of lilac. You smelled it so many times right in a row, trying to get that lovely smell, and as a result your senses became almost deadened to it. Momentarily, understand.
See any connection?
The solution for this problem really is simple: back away from the bush and take big deep breaths of regular, run of the mill, thrill-less oxygen. Then smell the lilac again.
God created the thrill when we smell lilacs; the tingle you feel when someone dear to you pats your shoulder or gives you a hug; the warm glow when you get a note from someone "just because". God created it. Therefore, of itself, it cannot be bad.
Its what we do with it.
I'll admit: Ive had friendships in the last 19 years of my life that I've kept for the thrill. I've made mistakes. I cant deny it, nor would I try. And I've had friends who have stuck around only for the thrill. It never ends up being a win-win situation. It winds up a win-lose: the devil wins, you lose. Friendships that are grounded in unhealthy and excessive feeling and emotion are bound to wind up in the ditch.
But that doesn't mean that God didn't create humans to love and be loved; not just by each other, but more so by Him.
It doesn't mean that every friendship you form needs to end up in the ditch.
And it surely doesnt mean that a God-given thrill at the wonder of friends is a bad thing.
But it means that with all of the friendships I am entrusted with, I need to hand them right back to God... And let Him do the steering.
The thrills wont be constant that way.
But Ill be safer.
So will my friends.
And then the thrills that do come will be worth far more.
Father, I ask You to teach me the true meaning of friendship. Teach me how to be a true friend. Give me the patience, the love, the perserverance and understanding to truly make an impact in someones life. Embue me with Your spirit.... Teach me how to be a friend.
Are you game?
Give God the reins.... And trust Him with your all....
And then feel the thrills He gives you....
And give Him every last bit of glory.