Alone Again, Unnaturally–September 20, 2011

12 23 OBOE THEME

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My son, Jerrod, and my daughter-in-law, Angy, are off cavorting in Europe for a couple of weeks.  In their absence, Dollie has flown to Miami to watch our two granddaughters for the time span. 

So yesterday, Jan and I had to motor our way to Northern Virginia in two separate cars–and I found myself driving alone.  I haven’t done that very often in my life.  It was a three-hour journey from Wilmington, Delaware, down to Manassas, Virginia, and I really didn’t enjoy it that much. I know we live in a time when people extol the value of being “alone with yourself” and thinking “deep thoughts” but honestly, dear hearts, I find that notion to be not only ridiculous but actually counterproductive to the human experience. For any emotions that I do not deal with immediately in my life are unfortunately not available to me when I do decide to get alone. The reason is that emotions sprout up, require verbal expression, followed by a time of discovery on how real or false they are, and then get cleansed from our hearts so we don’t slide into unrighteousness.

So I talk about what I feel–not as gospel or as doctrine–but rather, as the passing fancy of my own emotional make-up.  I have learned that if I don’t do this, any emotion that stays in me for twenty-four hours tries to build a farm on my back forty. I don’t want that. I don’t want the next decision I make in my life to be tainted by a disgruntled emotion that controls what I choose to do because I have failed to deal with its impact.

So it was really odd–not having anyone to talk to and not being particularly interested in satellite radio, I found myself getting sleepy while I drove instead of enlivened by the experience. I was so glad when we finally got to our destination and I was able to talk once again with my partner, Janet. I told her all about my feelings and she told me about hers. It was good.

But it made me realize that there are misconceptions in this country that are being touted as virtuous or even therapeutic which are dragging down the emotional, spiritual, mental and even physical essence of our people. (I know that sounds rather dramatic, but give me a little license to set up the story-line.)

For instance, I thought about the fact that we insist that men and women are “different,” citing emotional make-up as an example, when the Bible made it clear in the book of Genesis, that it was not good for a MAN to be alone. Understand, at this point, man had work, he had a garden, he had a life, he had animals and he had God. It still wasn’t enough. Why? No emotional release. For after all, God is not my therapist.  God is not the one who is supposed to be listening to my problems as I lay on a couch of supplication. Prayer is for rejoicing, thanksgiving, seeking wisdom and strength. God has given us each other as traveling buddies and also as sounding boards, to interact and recover ourselves when we’ve slid into fits of despair.

Bluntly–God was not enough for Adam. He needed an emotional companion because we are emotional people.

So what does all this mean? It means that as long as we contend that it’s all right to bottle up our emotions and call them private, trying to excavate them in those few moments that we actually are alone, we will begin to plant a root of bitterness in ourselves that will be a controlling factor in all of our relationships and decision-making.  

Being alone is not natural. 

No, we are a gregarious, outgoing people who have tolerated those who are more stoic but certainly do not elect them or choose them to lead us out of the wilderness.

This is the first thing that Jesus established with the masses. He called himself the “son of man,” making it clear that he was one of them. When he sensed that somebody in the room had an unspoken complaint, he always called it out and brought it to the forefront. And when he was emotionally distraught with his disciples, he poured forth his feelings instead of holding them in and building up resentment. It was an excellent example. And when he did go to be alone for prayer, it wasn’t to air his grievances to the heavens–it was to pour out his heart for lost humanity. (“Father, I pray that they be one, as You and I are one.”)

So where can we change this and begin to implement a life that is emotionally clarified instead of darkened by hidden sensations and a fear of sharing? If you don’t mind, I’d like to talk about that tomorrow. Because I am a blessed man and I am never alone because I can share my heart everyday … with you.

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