Saturday, June 22, 2013

On my Own

When you fully immerse yourself in a community and are suddenly ripped from it for one reason or another, it can be really really easy to find yourself feeling entirely alone in the world. The people you were closest with, be they family or friends or classmates or co-workers, all tend to slip away, even if you say you'll still see each other. It's normal for people to drift apart as they head down different paths in life, but sometimes this ends up being a more difficult thing to accept than we want it to be.

When I stepped down from my youth ministry job back in December, I told people I'd still be around in their lives, that I'd love to keep seeing everyone, but it would have to be in a different context and a whole lot more intentional. Knowing that that intentionality was an important factor in that, it made it all the more crushing when I found myself alone for the couple of months that followed. Did people not want to see me anymore? Did they just have more important things to do? Was there an effort lacking on my end of things as much as on theirs? Regardless of the answers to these questions, something bigger comes up. If losing the regular context for these relationships caused such a big rift, are they any lass valid? Do they still mean something if they're over?

I struggled with this for months and months, feeling like I had lost the community I had grown to know and love. And I had, at least in some capacity. Those relationships still existed, but in a totally different context from the one I had grown familiar and comfortable with. Now, in order to maintain the closeness I once felt with people, I had to be really intentional about that, and try to actually make plans with people. But in my blindness I wasn't able to see that, and so a lot of those relationships fell apart, drifted away, or just sort of faded out. I was left alone, with no family or friends but the few people who I had managed to get close to outside of that. Thank God for those few people, because my relationships with them grew even stronger through this and I ended up with a really solid bunch of people to turn to with my problems and concerns. God provided even in a time of struggle.

I guess there's two lessons to learn from this story- the first is not to put all your eggs in the same basket. If you allow yourself to exist exclusively within one ecosystem, then as soon as something goes wrong there, your entire world is shaken into a state of utter chaos. If you spread yourself out a little, it's far less devastating when one group shuts down or grows apart. The second is that at the end of the day you're not really alone, even in the darkest moments, God is there. He's there, He's good, and He's got a plan.

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