I had lunch with a good friend today, someone who's been a good friend since college. I was trying to explain how I'm feeling about being back in Portland. My stream-of-consciousness explanation went something like this:
"Home is a very fluid concept for me right now. (props to the movie Hitch for that "very fluid" bit) Every time I go to Africa I get closer and closer to those people, and they become more and more like family to me. At the same time I'm realizing how much my life is becoming oriented in a pretty permanent way toward East Africa, so I'm only really putting energy into maintaining the really important relationships here at home. Basically, I kind of resent new people moving into my comfort zone because I don't expect them to be very important to me and they just require energy."
What I said has been haunting me for the past two hours. I've never thought of myself as someone who struggles with the concept of community, but, as is clear from the above sentiment, I do. Friday night at our Lahash volunteer appreciation dinner one of the board members shared about the importance of the pronoun "us" in Scripture. One of the core values of my church, Imago Dei Community, is that we share our lives with one another in Authentic Community. Yet here I am, complaining about being forced to share my life with other people who I'm convinced will only be transient influences on my life.
Leaving aside the whole concept of God using me in someone else's life, I am so foolish and arrogant to believe that I am not in need of the wisdom and insight and encouragement that those dreaded "new" people might offer to me.
Sure it's easier to sit at home in front of my computer watching movies or working long hours as an excuse to be alone. I don't have to try...at anything. It's the supreme selfishness of thinking that I am an island, completely self-sufficient, and that what happens on my island is far more important than what is happening on anyone else's island.
My arrogance is appalling. Please invade my island and rescue me from myself!