Sunday, October 9, 2011

Three Days 'til Twindom

I'm not sure who stalked who first.  We first encountered at Subway during Anytober.  I was reloading my water and he was carbonating up.  I would describe him as pudgy and I, on the other hand, kick my own butt to avoid pudginess.  As if kin to the Komodo Dragon, his tongue flicked faithfully like a spatula scraping impaled peanut butter off the inside of his upper lip.  He was unaware. And only yesterday, I stepped into Sports Cuts for a hair-tidying appointment in order to compensate for the new patch of zits I had apparently been fertilizing on my face.  When he spoke, after each phrase or sentence I would usually utter a "Huh," Excuse me," or "I'm sorry?"  And, up until recently, I had supported my family via theological gab.  I was paid to communicate clearly.  After a short interaction we separated, and little had I known, I had found my brother.

Next day I'm going for a jog, 10 miles, decked in polyester and other wicking fabric.  I pass him.  He is walking the same direction as I'm going.  Again, who was there first... him or me?  Was I following him or was he tracking me?  Never mind that; he sported the same clothes as the day before and perhaps the day before that, and before that, and... yes, maybe before that.  Did I mention he was Black?  I'm more like bread that has been left in the toaster too long... brown on the edges but white in the middle.  No communication, no talking, no interaction that day.  We did not need to any longer; the connection was made, although I was unaware.

Day three... I'm filling out applications online in an appendage restaurant to the local grocery store.  It's one of those dives that stays in business because college kids can get 2500 calories wrapped in a tomato basil tortilla, log on to Facebook, and sip on a Frappufrufru at one stainless steel table.  Guess who strolls in?   I'm no genius, not even that smart, and when it comes to chess I'm not worthy to untie the laces of Bobby Fisher's shoes.  But, if my new friend and I sat down for a game of chess, I would bet on myself.  SAT scores?  I win that one too (and mine were just average).  Sudoku?  Never played it, but going to wager against my new friend.  Did I mention I'm taller than him?

So, there I am working on this application.  It is about 12:30 PM and he walks in.  Twelve-thirty is no coincidence.  It is the busiest time of the day.  My friend came for people, lots of people, people laughing, eating, talking.  He shuffled in, proceeded to a table with a dining family, and started hugging them.  They didn't know him anymore than they knew me, and I couldn't tell you their names or even what they ordered.  He ended up getting a picture with them (Thank you, iPhone).  He was there because he did not want to be ALONE!! And that's when it hit me, "We are twins!!"  Granted, I didn't pull up to a stainless steel table to hug on random families but only to mooch the free WiFi, but we were twins because we crave the same thing.

Genesis 2 spouts it this way, "The LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'"  Loneliness is one of those few things that is worse than death.  If Laurence Fishburne manifested and said, "Take the red pill and be alone but live, or take the blue pill and die,"  I'm swallowing blue.  This summer, for the first time in my life, I came to place where I thought and screamed out loud, "I'd rather be dead!"  Loneliness was pulling the trigger.  It was a self-induced loneliness but loneliness the same.

No wonder my new friend showed up at the hopping joint during the busiest time of the day.  Why wouldn't he?  He needed to feel a part of a community; he needed to feel love; he needed to NOT BE ALONE even if just for the lunch hour.  He and I have nothing in common except that which makes us twins, soul brothers: the longing to not be alone, to be loved.  God said it, "It is not good for man to be alone!"  That is why God raised a nation, a community called Israel, rather than a single person with whom to make a covenant.  That is why the Church is not a building, a sermon, or Gungor jamming our socks off, but rather a community of diverse people sharing life together.

The Church has so much to offer! As I experienced true loneliness for the first time in my life, my eyes were opened to see how many, millions, of people are lonely.  Maybe you are one of the lonely!  The Church has been set up, when it moves with the Spirit, to meet that need in a practical and tangible way.  To the lonely in the world, the Church says, "Hey!  You are not alone.  You are one of us.  You belong here.  We are twins!!"

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