I took my dog Max for a run at our local conservation area yesterday morning. I can let him off leash because the park is closed to traffic and so it is safe for me to let him run. He loves to go there almost as much as he loves going to the dog park in Hamilton. At the conservation area he can, to paraphrase a quote from “Star Trek” to “boldly sniff where he`s never sniffed before.”
Occasionally we will meet other people out with their dogs or just going for a walk. It is nice meeting people there because it seems there is always time to stop and chat. I find that it is always interesting the people you will meet. As an example, there is one man that I meet there every now and again who owns a Jack Russell terrier. We don’t know each other’s names but that doesn’t seem to matter — our dogs know each other and that’s all that seems to count! I mention this because we always have time to stop and have a conversation. We never talk about anything significant, just exchange pleasantries and then go on our individual ways.
Sometimes we become so preoccupied with our indvidual lives that we forget the importance of having others interacting with us. John Donne wrote that “no man is an island“ meaning that together we are made stronger and that we need each other to become the kind of people that God wants us to be.
God has called us to be a community and it is together that we can grow into the kind of people that honour His name. Proverbs 27:17 tells us “as iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another.“ This tells us about the positive effect that interaction with other people has on our character. Healthy, positive interaction with other people helps us to be mindful of the importance of having other people involved in our lives. Living in isolation has never been very helpful. There are times when being alone is a good thing, but never for a long, extended period of time. We need other people to help us along life`s path. People, friends and family, to give encouragement, guidance and support not only in times of need, but whatever our circumstances in life are.
But there are many people who find themselves in situations where they have never known love and support from family or friends. This is where the church can and should step in and model the love of Christ to these people in desparate need for someone who truly cares about them.
I just came back from taking Max for a walk in the park. Today I met no one, and that was okay. For as much as we need other people, being alone also has its advantages.
One advantage is time to enjoy the solitary moments that God has given you. It gives you time to be alone with God. Time to enjoy the beauty of the natural surroundings and time to listen to the voice of God. I think of no better place to “go into your closet“ than in God`s natural setting. Then by spending time alone, I think that you will find yourself better able to meet the needs of other people. Jesus is to be our model and if He spent time alone, we ought to make time to do so as well.