Saturday, March 1, 2014

Organic Isolation

While I am very happy living where I am, for me a major criticism of life in a large city is how difficult it is to live near most people you love and/or care about. Because everything is so spread out, one is forced into a lifestyle of driving and more driving - to work, to shop, to have fun, and even to be with said loved ones. One cannot survive without a vehicle among all other basic necessities, therefore one must work to survive (though that is arguably more of a universal truth that applies even outside of a large spread-out Midwestern city with a poor excuse for a public transit system). This, among other things, lends itself to feelings of isolation - at least I've found this to be true for myself, but I'm also confident that I'm not alone.

One of my favorite things about being married to my spouse is that we equally value rest. We also share the conviction that God values rest even more than we do and that we are ultimately made for an eternal rest with Him and in Him. Therefore we are slowly beginning to practice honoring the Sabbath - what God intended as a day of absence from the things that wear us down, notably work (not including the life-giving variety, though I've personally found this hard to come by) and this Western lifestyle of useless busyness. We've chosen Saturday for our Sabbath as we feel it most closely lines up with the Biblical Sabbath and it's the one day of the week neither of us have any regularly-scheduled obligations.

Thankfully we were able to sleep in together for about 9 hours this Saturday morning, however we were still very disappointed that we had to begin our Saturday by facing the pre-Snowpocalypse 2014.2 grocery-hoarding mobs of our city - and at an earlier time than we typically prefer to begin "doing stuff" on a Saturday. However this adventure brought us a pleasant surprise as we ran into two friends and a family member among many from whom we normally feel isolated. Perhaps it was the Starbucks caffeine that we enjoyed along the way but this turned into one of the most wonderful experiences we've had in our time living here together. In a way, it felt like we were in a small town where everyone knows everyone else. In a way...we felt at home.

A few truths I'm reminded of as result of this experience:

1) God knows us, knows what it's like to be us, and truly cares for us. He's the only one who knows what we truly need when we need it and more often than not will provide for us when we least expect. I won't try to argue that every seemingly-random occurrence equals divine intervention but I am fully convinced that there is no coincidence that takes place outside of His grasp.

2) We are created to be in community with God and with one another. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs every single one of us desires to be known by others (though there are many who have yet to recognize this in their own lives). Nevertheless, community takes work, and if we're truly honest with ourselves we forsake gathering with others because we just don't want to do the work. Instead we become obsessed with our own respective family units and bent toward the American Dream (a half-truth at best). (Note: I am completely for the institution of the family and believe our world would be a better place if everyone truly valued and prioritized the family. My point is that we are made to interact with a variety of people and this can only happen outside of our own walls.)

3) The aforementioned events took place at our local Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Shop organic (local, if possible, is best). Aside from avoiding the risk of consuming food products grown/raised in fecal-infested conditions perhaps there are other benefits to doing so.

4) I almost became guilty of my own pet peeve: posting blog-worthy content where it doesn't belong - "the Facebook". Thankfully it crashed and I was given the opportunity to redeem myself. I am thankful that Jesus is full of mercy and grace for a hypocrite such as myself.


Melinda Stirling said...

I appreciate EVERY part of this Tim! Thanks for sharing your heart--this is great stuff! ~M

deliveredjude said...

You have one of the most beautiful hearts of anyone I know.