By B.J. Funk-
How well do you know the people in your pew? What lonely thoughts are they hiding behind their Sunday smile? What hurts are they keeping a secret?
With so much negative news happening in our world, our church recently started a “Surprise Someone” campaign. It came about because one of our members posted a lovely note on her FaceBook page. The note, attached to a gift card to a local fast food restaurant, was from a stranger saying, “I wanted to bless you today. From one stranger to another.” We challenged our folks to spread kindness to a stranger by doing something nice for someone they don’t know. It sounds like a simple thing, but with all of us so tired of bad news, why not give good news a try.
As you sit in your church pew this Sunday morning, your heartache might be different from another’s heartache, but pain understands pain. Pain also understands a smile, a kind note, and a sympathetic listening ear. For Christians, much of our help comes from a concentrated effort to remain glued to the Word of God and to prayer, and to remember a Bible verse like Romans 8:31: “…if God is for us, who can be against us?” Or Deuteronomy 31:6: “Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you.”
It is also essential for us to interact with other Christians, to gain encouragement from time together and to be good listeners. You and I can be that one good friend to someone who feels lost. Loneliness may come about through losing a loved one, losing a job or just the feeling of losing at life in general. Ernest Hemingway said, “We are all broken. That’s how the light gets in.”
At the end of “Camelot,” King Arthur’s ideal world is falling apart. He is losing. The onlooker watches with sadness as his world crumbles. A young boy comes to him, and as King Arthur knights him, he feels a new surge of energy. One of his companions yells out to King Arthur, “What is that all about?”
King Arthur, with new determination and resolve, answers back, “One of what we all are. Less than a drop in the great blue ocean of the silent sea. But it seems that some of them do sparkle. Yes some of them sparkle!” Camelot lost now welcomes a new hope.
To think that you and I are less than just a drop in the ocean is a downer. But, to think that our drop might sparkle lifts us up above the loneliness and pain of our lives and gives us new hope.
I found five rules for life that have the potential of bringing hope to your loneliness. From an anonymous post, (1) Make peace with your past so it won’t disturb your present. (2) What other people think of you is none of your business, (3) Time heals almost everything. Give it time. (4) No one is in charge of your happiness except you, and (5) Don’t compare your life to others and don’t judge them. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
When loneliness stops to visit me, I think of my late mother and how she believed in me. She stood behind me with every victory and beside me at each defeat. It was like every morning when I awoke, she created a protective bubble of security that propelled me into my classes and social activities. With each breath, I heard, “I know you can do it,” and with each exhale I heard, “See I told you that you could.”
Because of her I somehow got the message that I was created for more than just a mediocre existence, for more than just a drop in the ocean. I was created to fulfill my God-ordained purpose. Within that understanding, I simply cannot allow loneliness to stay in the driver’s seat.
Nor can you. Keep reaching, keep trying, and keep loving. Robert Frost said, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.”
Be the drop that sparkles.