When I was young I might be in the Adirondacks or the Green Mountains hiking and I would come across a “hermit” from time to time. Living in Vermont, I developed friendship with one. He lived off an old dirt path on a road called “Joy Brook Basin”. (Is your alone time making you more joyful?) He did not come into town but a few times a year. He preferred his mountain top living over people. Over the years I have run into a few.Most hermits are the folks that are okay living alone. Perhaps experiences or situations pushed them away. I think there is a difference between being okay living alone (Acceptance of a condition or situation.) and being alone. (They often battle with feelings for community while fighting the aloneness. I know many who are alone who desire relationship, but in most cases accomplishing it, well, that is another story.)
Over the years I have come to believe though, that God hardwired us for a few things. One is a connection with Him. And one is a connection for community. (There are others like creativity.)
To define community I would simply say it is inclusive of family and friends. (That number is variable.) Community may be the result of faith, geography or interests, though not limited to that. Now people’s sense of community and participation will have variables. Some people need less people, while others need more for instance.
Now being a hermit on some levels has become easier. “How can you say that” you might ask. “Technology has brought us closer together.” I think that internet and cell phone technology have broken down the walls of connection and caused us to be more “global” perhaps. (Assuming that they actually give kids a working knowledge of countries and geography which could be a stretch.) But with that technology come the risks of isolation and aloneness. There are a hundred stories out there is there is one that tells of the “comparison” factor on social media like Facebook. The type of study that reveals someone having more friends is “better”.
It means you aren’t imagining it when it feels like all your friends are doing better than you — they really are! Such a discovery could help explain why study after study all suggest that Facebook — and the window it provides into other peoples’ lives — is making us feel inadequate and unhappy. The Week
The last few days I have given contemplation to the isolation factor. (Three Dog Night said “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.”)I recognize that there is a perhaps true thinking along the lines of “cabin fever” and such. What is our answer? The answer of course involves Jesus and thought process in keeping with Him and His word.
Sometimes the answer is being there. Other times it may be a phone call or a letter. I find that with over 2,000 plus numbers in my phone, over the last two months, there are less than 15 who I talked to more than once. Most of those are my family. My texts includes a different group as well, because some people just text, but it is still not that large.
Yet sometimes I live for “alone”. This past Monday was a very full day for me. I looked for “alone time” on Tuesday. But there is often a difference between times of “alone” and lifestyles of “alone”. And I am praying for the touch of the Lord on lives.
What would you do if there was no internet to keep relationships? (Today I am walking away from mine to work on other things.) I am not talking about religious thinking here I am talking about the “what if”. While all my kids text and Facebook, I am prone to make the phone call. To get face to face. Some circumstances require things other than face to face and I understand that.
I think one of the things I see is God restoring the face to face experiences. The “personal” touch as someone might say. When my daughter was born she was born severely premature. Her weight just a shade over one pound. She was placed in an “Isolette” (Interesting the name…) for care, but even 30 years ago studies showed for a child to be “okay” they needed the personal touch, or “skin to skin” as one study said.
I think that the Lord is bringing us back to some of our previous understanding on community. Restoring the voice of encouragement and blessing. Years ago I wrote of the “reach out and touch someone” campaign of AT&T. And I thought of the famous painting of Michelangelo as God reached His hand out to touch Adam’s finger. To touch Him.
We are not trading “big for little” but adding value to the connections we already have. Building upon them. Edifying them.
Today let us add strength to the “nets” of God. Let us encourage and lift hands of those who have been weakened.
Below are some scriptures to contemplate.
- Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.
- Proverbs 10:11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
- Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.
- 1 Thessalonians 3:2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith,
- Acts 15:32 And Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren with a lengthy message.
- Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
- Hebrews 10:24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
- Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.
- Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.