No person is an island

No person is an island.

On a deeper level, I knew that but I did not want to admit it. I wanted to have the luxury of believing that I could make it through life with little to no help from others. As a matter of fact, I wanted to be a monk. (Yes, a monk.) I envisioned living at a monastery with other people but we did not have to have many interactions. My fellow monks and I could work together for stuff like meals and maintenance, yet for the majority of my day I would be in isolation with just God and me. 

Growing up in church, I would hear the song, “Long as I got King Jesus, I don’t need nobody else.” Yet, as I got older, I realized that my desire to be a monk and even that song came out of a place of hurt. The lyrics say, “I’ve been lied on, cheated, talked about, mistreated. I’ve been ‘buked, scorned, talked about sure as you born.” All of these are negative things happened because of someone else. In essence, what this song says is people have hurt me so I do not need them. All I need is Jesus.

In the same token, my desire to be a monk came from the same place. I felt unaccepted by the world and uncomfortable in my own skin. My solution was to isolate myself from the world. This however was not helpful to anyone else, let alone to me.

It was in seminary that God began to show me that I did need other people. Though I may have had some bad experiences (most of which spawned from my own negative perspective), it did not mean that all of my experiences would be bad. God showed me the joy that comes when community is done right. Yes, some people may hurt you and not accept you but others will love you and even celebrate you.

Life is so much richer when you get off the island of isolation and start to see the good in people. It is not that everyone and everything is perfect but you learn to see things differently. You focus on the positive instead of the negative. As you do that, life becomes so much more enjoyable.

No person is an island and intentionally so. We were made for community. There will be people that hurt you, even in your family but do not go back to the island. Sometimes you just have to shake the dust that people try to throw on you off and just keep moving forward. I always say, “change the world, don’t let the world change you.” You cannot change the world if you are running away from it. Find your sweet spot between personal time and community time. Do not neglect either because they are equally important. The world, your family, your community need you. As the nursery rhyme says, “the more we get together, together, together, the more we get together the happier we’ll be.”

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