Monday, May 16, 2005

Hermit-Like Tendencies

There's something to be said for opposites attracting. As for me, I've always had hermit-like tendencies, whereas Tom's the type who wants to hop into the car and go, go, do, do. 

And you know? Many times I've felt thankful that he talked me into getting out of the house for some fun.

That is, he was like that until these last two years. I think it began with his neck surgery, forcing him to remain home for six weeks. 

He didn't mind it half as much as he thought he would. 

Maybe because I babied him like crazy--even reading to him from some of the books I'd asked him to read for 15 years. (Turns out he loved and devoured each one. It was weird watching him read like that!).

But, uh-oh. Tom now exhibits hermit-like tendencies, himself. I'm thinking he finally succumbed to my hermit-itis. 

Often, he wants to go out even less than I do and he almost seems satisfied to watch movie-life rather than live life in reality. Even our calendar reflects that. Too many squares appear like today's which says only: "Watch the final episode of Everybody Loves Raymond."


Oh, it's not the going-out that is so important--it's that other thing. That thing I've noticed in myself and my other 40-something (and older) friends. That thing which says--

We are tired.
We have paid our dues.
We attended all those endless concerts at our kids' schools when we thought, "If they sing just one more slow, screechy song, I'll...."
We went to all those eternal, droning meetings at church and school and at the office.
We're sick of traffic and the way people drive.
And we're just plain sick of people. People who aren't careful with their words, those who hurt our feelings or just bore us. Unkind, thoughtless, opinionated people.

And of course, that last one makes us feel the most guilty. As it should.

Oh, not that we're supposed to go around feeling guilty all the time (I've blogged about that). No, but we are to recall that we're here to care for other people. Next to ministering to God, comes ministering to--you guessed it--people.

Unkind, thoughtless, opinionated people. Just like each of us tend to be at times.

The kind of people who need God. The kind who stretch us and keep us from turning selfishly inward and who remind us that godly passion is not just for the young, but for those of us in our late-summer-early-autumn years, too.

It's too easy to become a hermit in these later years. It's easier to bow out of things when you're living inside the empty nest. We can come up with more excuses-- "It's not safe out there. I don't like to dress-up. I've done my time. I'm tired, I'm sick. I'm old."

But it feels too much like going downstream. Like giving-in, doing only what's easy and going with the flow of all (weary) mankind.

I think God had something better.

Maybe Tom and I need to make some changes. Changes which include turning this hermit-like boat around and paddling back upstream.

A whole lot of people are stuck and waiting for our help along the shoreline and if we're hurt while helping them? That's the chance God asks us to take.


"The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People who really want help may attack you if you help them. Help anyway. Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway." ... Mother Teresa


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