I went through the drive-thru for my coffee this morning. Hit up the drive-thru at the bank. Ran through the drive-thru pharmacy. Went to Wal-Mart and did self check out. Came home to find some warm boots for Berlin and bought them on the internet.
I was basically "out and about" all day and never had to speak to another person.
Now granted, in the mood I've been in since I got back in the States, I've been grateful to dodge 90% of the American population. Then I remember that I'm an extrovert and that people ENERGIZE me. I can be in the worst mood, and a pleasant conversation can lift my spirits. So, how did I feel heading back to my house this afternoon after technology and laziness had successfully isolated me from everyone? *About as cheery as I had when I left... *Insert sarcasm here
It makes me reflect on the last year, and I come up with a few conclusions. Isolation is definitely not what Christ had in mind. That's one area where anywhere outside the Western world seems to have a few more of their ducks in a row. In Selaphum, Thailand there was no front door. Seriously. Neighbors, friends, family, church members...they all came and went as they pleased. They helped cook dinner when they weren't eating. They moved clothes to the clothesline, even if the clothes weren't theirs. It was beautiful. Everyone was there to serve and love. Now granted, there were disagreements here and there, but there was no where to go pout afterward. Instead, you sucked it up, got over yourself, forgave, and moved on with your life.
I think about how we'd react here if those things started happening. Think about it...Mom is stressed and the neighbor has a spare afternoon, so she comes over and helps fold the laundry. Well, not only would we be irritated that the neighbor bust in, unannounced, while the house was dirty, but she also invaded personal space by folding my clean clothes. Unacceptable.
In Africa as we distributed corn to needy families, I watched as one family would walk away with a bucket of corn and pour half of their portion into a needy neighbor's bucket. These
people receiving the corn from the ministry had next to nothing. The corn provided was some of the only food they would be given for months. Despite their struggle though, I'll bet the option of not helping to feed their neighbor never crossed their mind. It would appear that they practice the idea that if your neighbor is in need, you share a chunk of what is fully available, not just enough to feel charitable.
I know this is very general statement, but it seems that whether we're struggling in the States or not, we tend to hoard everything that we own for ourselves. It's an "every man for himself" kind of mentality. How disappointing.
Now, I understand this is a result of how our culture has developed. It just seems as if we've done ourself a disservice in isolating ourselves from the world around us. It seems that the majority of us have forgotten what community is, the blessings it provides, and how it operates.
So, what is the Lord challenging me with this afternoon? Utilizing community, loving my neighbor, and offering a smile and a kind word to the lady behind the Dunkin Donuts counter.
"By this all people will know that you are my disciplines, if you have love for one another." -John 13:35