So Thursday I had a hernia operation… my 3rd. The first was in May of 2005 and when I didn’t take it easy for long enough, I had a second about a month later. I’ve done physical labor for much of my life and this is probably the cost, but, to me, a life without activity (the physically active kind) isn’t life at all.
So, since I’m working with the YWAM Kona Mission Builders outfit where it’s people 24/7, I arranged to get dropped off at a friend’s vacant house 60 miles from campus to get a little R&R alone right after the surgery. The idea hit me in the hospital. “Where am I going from here? Back to the campus to sit in my room? Will I be left alone there? Gosh, I have to think of something quick!” Then it hit me… “Derek’s place! He’s out of town! Perfect! What a God-send.” So I’ve been here on the rainy side of the island taking it easy, until about an hour ago when my boss back on campus called and announced that he’s on his way up here to hang out and eat pizza! My gut reaction was, “No! Please don’t come. I’ll be just fine. I don’t need anything, especially not a gang of people sitting here asking me questions, looking at me. I feel like I just got shot in the stomach.” Besides, he tends to run late and 2 hours might turn into 5, he’ll get here at night and stay for a long time or maybe even overnight. I’ll have to entertain and they might even decree they’re taking me back to campus because it’s no good for me to be alone up here.
But it’s hard to say all that when i know his intentions are good. See, he’s from South America where it’s “the more, the merrier”, parties go later, and all of life is lived relationally. In my thinking, for a man with a family who has a lot on his plate to drop everything and drive 1 1/2 hours each way to hang out and eat with a recovering staff member seems like a total waste of time. So I argued that point but to no avail. His mind was made up.
So after hanging up and worrying about when he’ll come bursting through the door with his entourage of people, I was thinking, “I’m selfish. If I don’t want this kind of thing, what am I doing in an international interdenominational outfit called “YOUTH With A Mission” anyway? Maybe I should be working at a bank in Ohio instead. Or some computer lab with a bunch of introverts. Then again, even those people would probably visit me. But God created people for relationship, right,? At least some of the time. Some just like that part more than others I guess. Is it really that big of a deal if people want to show you they love you? And honestly, love probably is more quality time than personal space. But even my own Mother gets the personal space thing. She was the one who brought me up here and left me in the first place. And it’s been awesome! No people, no car, no hassle, no drama. At least that’s how I see it.
Then there’s the whole introvert/extrovert thing. Some of us recharge alone and others get energy from a crowd. This reoccurrence in my life makes me think of a quote by C.S.Lewis. He’s vacillating back and forth between the mandate of togetherness and the value of solitude…
“We are forbidden to neglect the assembling of ourselves together. Christianity is already institutional in the earliest of its documents. The Church is the Bride of Christ. We are members of one another….
(But later on the same page, he says)
…there is a crowd of busybodies, self-appointed masters of ceremonies, whose life is devoted to destroying solitude wherever solitude still exists… We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and privacy, and therefore starved for meditation…”
A verse from my favorite book in the Bible gives some guidance about how to handle these polar opposites.
“It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.”
So I welcomed him a few hours later than expected and we ate pizza and watched the last half of Lone Survivor together. It was actually really fun and I’m glad he came.