I’d like to start today’s article by shaming everyone who has not kept their New Year’s resolutions. What’s wrong with you people? Is this really how you want to start a new decade?
Those of you who’ve kept your resolutions, I want to castigate you for picking such lame and easily achievable goals. For those of you who cowardly avoided resolutions all together, well I have nothing but indifference for you. Extreme, passionate indifference.
On second read, I’d like to rephrase my opening remarks. What I meant to say was, “I’m so very proud of everybody. Whether or not you’ve made resolutions or kept the resolutions you’ve made, I want you to feel encouraged, supported and valued. Most importantly, I want you to feel so encouraged, supported and valued that you resist your urge to write me a nasty e-mail.”
One of my resolutions is to limit the amount of people I offend. This is not easy for many numerable reasons.
1. My humor does not always translate as funny. Particularly among people who have a lousy sense of humor or a great sense of humor.
2. I enjoy talking and writing about anything, even if I know nothing about it. This helped me with college essay questions, however, I’ve had mixed results in other arenas.
3. I passionately believe every human being has room for improvement. I believe humans should spend the majority of their energy dealing with their own faults, not the failings of their neighbor. Perfect people do not like this in me. They have plenty of time on their hands to point this out.
4. The fact that I exist also makes it difficult for me to not offend people. Doing things wrong is a habit of existence. Determining something is wrong only after you’ve done it is the gift of existence in community.
For the most part, I think everyone wants to be accepted by a community, to be part of something that is bigger than themselves. Everyone wants to belong, to be welcomed by the group. To have someone’s face light up when you walk in the room, to know you’ve been missed, to know that your presence matters. These desires are in each of us. At least they were there when we were children.
It’s difficult to exist in community. Some of our biggest hurts come from the people we love the most. We’ve all experienced enough rejection from family, friends and loved ones to reevaluate further attempts to find acceptance or belonging.
Sometimes it seems like a hermit’s path might be a more attractive existence. We can gate off our heart, life and existence from the awkward entanglements of community. The logic seems valid at face value. If I’m alone, people can’t hurt me and I can’t hurt people.
Human beings were not meant to go it alone. We were created for community. We have a capacity to receive and give love. To be loved and to love. When we cut ourselves off from this purpose, we lose a part of our humanity. We mar the image of God within us.
God made me a sensitive, easily wounded, introvert. I can say the right things, but my heart has not found a way to avoid bruising. Even so, as I force myself to be in community, I find a strength I could never have found alone. From the encouragement of friends, family, and strangers, to the peace I gain from allowing God to be God and me to be me. 2010 is the year of the Lord’s acceptable favor. So don’t hide out, you were made for community.
Now that wasn’t that offensive … was it?
Doug Bursch hosts “The Fairly Spiritual Show” at 6 p.m. Saturdays on KGNW 820 AM. He also pastors Evergreen Foursquare Church. Evergreen meets at 10 a.m. Sundays at 2407 M St. SE next to Pioneer Elementary School. He can be reached at www.fairlyspiritual.org or firstname.lastname@example.org.