Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Hard Lesson

I have been reflecting lately on a topic that I believe affects all of us at one time or another - loneliness. One of the things that I have learned, and seem to continually learn, is how hard it is to live in loneliness. I think that one of the hardest lessons in life is how to learn to live in our loneliness.

I think about some of the people that I have encountered in my life that have a hard time being alone. From the guy who goes from relationship to relationship because he doesn't want to be lonely, to the girl who will put up with the guy who treats her horribly because she doesn't want to be lonely. I understand their battle, because I think one of the scariest things to experience is that time when you are home all by yourself, with nothing but an empty night staring ahead at you, until the hour comes when you should go to bed and all you have to look forward to is the repeat of the cycle again the next day. There is an emptiness there that reverberates in it's own silence. And even if you fill it with the noise of the television or music, the loneliness is still there, knocking on your heart.

Now, theoretically, community is supposed to alleviate this emptiness, this loneliness. And it does to a certain extent. The love and support of a real community surrounds people and provides them encouragement and support in times of pain and hardship.

And there is a lot of pain in this world and a lot of hardship. The book that I posted about previous to this posting, The Hot Zone, is chock full of stories of hardships that people have experienced that I cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like to be in their shoes. I cannot imagine being an Afghani child-bride beaten close to death, or a Palestinian girl blinded by a tear-gas container shot by Israeli soldiers, or the Israeli coffee shop worker who's body was burned by a suicide bomber, or what it is like to have my limbs torn apart from my body by land-mines placed near my home by militant groups in Colombia. But the thing that connects all these people is that in spite of the horrendous things that they have endured in their life, they are supported by their communities in a real way. There are people that live and walk with these people through this pain. But.

But, I still know that in spite of the communities that surround them, I am certain these people still experience a level of loneliness that connects them to me. Our basic humanity connects us and helps me to understand at a very small level what that pain must feel like.

I also think that one of the lessons that has been hard for me to learn lately is that though I love God and I know that He loves me and He blesses me with His unfailing and enduring love, loneliness still remains. And while I wonder if it will ever truly go away, I don't think that it will. We can surround ourselves with things, people, get married, have families, have friends, live in community, go to church, have our quiet times, and in the midst of all that, loneliness can still rear up it's head. I can run and keep myself incredibly busy and stressed out with life and work and friends, but I think it is all an effort to hide from loneliness. Because when I have a weekend to myself, like this past weekend, I find myself going crazy and slipping into despair.

And maybe that is where God wants me to go. Maybe He wants me to experience despair and loneliness so that He can dispel the falsehoods that surround it and remind me of the Truth of who He is. Perhaps the reason that loneliness never goes away is because I need it to remind me of where I should be looking and where I should be bringing my pain.

I don't want the people who read this to pity me or feel bad that I feel lonely, because that is not the point. The point is to recognize the pain of loneliness that lives in every person's heart is one of the things that helps make us all human and allows us to identify with any person that we meet - be it that donor in the front of the church, to the homeless person on the street who stands in the back, to the friend dealing with an unimaginable life situation, to the people half a world away experiencing a life and hardships so different from anything that we can even imagine.

May God give me the grace and self-confidence to continue to live in my loneliness and embrace it, instead of denying and masking it, so that it allows me to minister to every person that I meet. Because in the end, I know that the depth of what I feel lies also in their heart.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

In the Hot Zone: One Man, One Year, Twenty-one Wars In the Hot Zone: One Man, One Year, Twenty-one Wars by Kevin Sites

My review

I cannot wait to read this book. This book is the result of Kevin Sites' journey over the course of a year to 20 different "Hot Zones" - areas in the world that are torn apart by conflict. I followed Sites and all of his stories on Yahoo and the stories that he brought to the world are so amazing. I love him, his writing, and the way he reminds us that the stories we read in the newspapers about "ethnic conflicts", or "Palestinian rebels", etc, etc, have real human faces and lives behind them.

*Update* I just started reading this book tonight and am already flying through it. This is a must read for anyone who cares about goes on in the world outside of the United States.

View all my reviews.

I love Stephen Colbert

Who doesn't? He is so funny...last night's show was hilarious....geographic discrimination!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Deadliest Job

I have bad days at work, as most people do. Today I definitely had one of those days - being hung up on by a very rude assistant (and rude is being nice), getting assigned a task that I hate, and being completely overwhelmed by all that I have to do.

But then I come home and watch "Deadliest Catch" on the Discovery Channel and I realize that my job may have it's ups and downs, but at least I am not fishing on the Bering Sea, having to worry about an ice flow that is going to cover my crab pots, or working for 36 straight hours without food or sleep, counting countless crabs, and having to constantly be on guard for loose lines, flying 1000lb crab pots, or a rogue wave that will wash me overboard.

It really is incredible the conditions that those men work in. 30 foot seas. Colder than ice water. And they push their bodies to the absolute limits. There was a captain this season who had a blood clot pass through his heart!! How he survived that is beyond me - you can only say that it was a miracle.

So, when the day is going bad, I guess I just need to remember, I could be on a fishing boat in the Bering Sea, freezing my butt off with no food or sleep. Instead I am stuck inside in air conditioning, sitting at my desk for countless hours, doing tasks that I would rather not do (On a side note - I wish I knew why answering the telephone is like sticking pins underneath my fingernails and sticks in my eyes). So I am lucky after all.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Little Historical Humor...

I came across this article randomly, which is actually quite fitting for its own unique randomness. It is a day after Bastille Day, but I still think it is appropriate to post, due to its sheer genius :). Enjoy!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's Been A While...

....since I posted anything of real substance. But there has been too much of life going on and too much that I haven't been able to really say to make a worthwhile posting.

I did just return from a mini-vacation from Orange Beach, AL, which was absolutely wonderful and divine, in more ways than one. It wasn't the trip I was expecting, but it is turning out, as I further reflect and digest it, to have been exactly what I needed. And I thank God for that. He truly is watching out for me, with a love beyond reason. I look forward to getting the time to share my reflections - hopefully soon!

In the meantime, if you scroll down my blog list, you'll find some of my friends and people that I think are neat have updated their sites - check them out, because they are all way cool.

Till the next posting - peace!