I used to think I was a loner. Then I discovered I was a loner who needed to not be alone. Then I found myself in a situation where I was not alone but I felt a loner once more.
Recently a few of my friends and I studied about relationship dynamics in the light of the Beatitudes and then looked at the episode where Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. What struck me about the relationship between both episodes was how much Jesus embodied one who was pure of heart, full of mercy and a natural peacemaker. Those attributes made Him able to develop such an intimate bond with the 12 men who followed Him that by the time He washed the feet of His disciples, they honoured and esteemed highly and were then blown away by this expression of love and service.
That was three years in the making. Three years of men watching, asking, getting involved, discovering, observing, misunderstanding and being amazed by the words and deeds of this man who now saw it as His expression of love to wash the feet of His disciples – His friends.
As we explored those aspects my heart initially grew very heavy as I didn’t perceive I was involved in such relationship. It reinforced that loner aspect in me. Until I reflected further.
There are close friends who have followed and served me. They have seen me at my worse and still befriended me. They are still very involved in my life albeit on a different dynamic as they live miles away. I know for sure if it wasn’t for their constant communication I would be a truly lonely man.
When I read about the relationship with the disciples, I know what church community should really be like. I know what to aspire for. I know what’s possible as I pursue Christ. The openings are kinda there and I trust they will materialise further as I pursue them.
The reality remains this. I still have a lot of the hallmarks of a loner. I don’t feel bad about that. I recognise all the more though that to really thrive in living and to follow the example of Jesus requires developing key Christ-like relationships.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden