Sunday, June 03, 2007

Isolation and Community

Two weekends ago I exchanged heavy-heart for a heavy pack. My wife, several dear friends, and I disappeared into Jefferson National Forest for 3 days and 2 nights. What a joy it is to walk under trees and sky with those I love! We carried each other's burdens (sometimes quite literally when one of us became injured.) With my over-active imagination I envisioned us as a band of nomads as we sat huddled around our fire on Mt Rodgers. And now I am back to the weary work of human misery, medical bureaucracy, and heavy responsibility.

There is nothing magical about the wilderness except that it is removed from the rest of society. It is being both isolated and together with others that forces reflection. I realize that what occupies most of my time and energy to be of small worth in comparison to those I love. My community of friends and family is by far the greatest blessing I have known in my life. My friends are not perfect (and certainly they can say the same of me) but what they are is true. They have walked with me for years and I know that we will continue to stand beside each other all our lives. They love me even when I am foolish. They correct me even when I am stubborn. They listen to me even when I talk nonsense. They pray for me. They care for my wife and family. They travel to see me. They open their homes to me. They make sacrifices for me. And in my better moments I do the same for them. Who cannot feel blessed to have such friends?

Unfortunately in today's world a community of such friends or even having one such friend is rare. I imagine that many ills of the modern world are related to the death of such community. From my own experiences with isolation I can say that I fear the man I might have become without them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now that, my dear brother, is the church.

Praise the Lord!