Tuesday, August 31, 2010


One of the hardest things about my current living situation is the lack of meaningful involvement in any kind of community of women. For decades, I cried and prayed and laughed and learned from various women’s Bible Studies, prayer groups, book groups, garden club, etc. Although I have always adored (desperately needed) Alone Time, being a Lone Ranger all of the time is challenging. I believe there are many reasons why we are urged to make an effort to remain in fellowship as much as possible, not least of which is a need for an accountability system.

It is not always possible, however.

I miss it. It gets lonely sometimes. I miss hearing other women’s thoughts; having the benefit of their advice, wisdom, and encouragement. Hearing their stories.

But I realized something yesterday.

I have that with you.

I got a mental flash of prisoners, separated by a wall, who communicate by tapping on the stone. As we tap away on our keyboards, we connect with each other through the wall of distance.

It is a gift, this community of sharing. Not one that should take the place of flesh-and-blood interaction, when that is possible. But an added blessing.

I’ve made new friends. I’ve introduced you to Cheri before. She is one of the other earthquake survivors. Cheri has an uncanny ability to share just what I need to hear when I need to hear it.

Following the Blessers and Bleeders post, she sent me this quote from theologian Henri Nouwen. (Funny…I’ve got his book The Dance of Life sitting beside me on the bedside table. Maybe it’s a sign to dig it out of the pile and get started.)

His wise words express my feelings about boundaries much better than I do:

"You must decide for yourself to whom and when you give access to your interior life. For years you have permitted others to walk in and out of your life according to their needs and desires.  Thus you were no longer master in your own house, and you felt increasingly used. So, too, you quickly became tired, irritated, angry, and resentful.

Think of a medieval castle surrounded by a moat. The drawbridge is the only access to the interior of the castle. The lord of the castle must have the power to decide when to draw the bridge and when to let it down.  Without such power he can become the victim of enemies, strangers and wanderers.  He will never feel at peace in his castle.

It is important for you to control your own drawbridge.  There must be times when you keep your bridge drawn and have the opportunity to be alone or only with those to whom you feel close.  Never allow yourself to become public property, where anyone can walk in and out at will.  You might think that you are being generous in giving access to anyone who wants to enter or leave, but you will soon find yourself losing your soul.

When you claim for yourself the power over your drawbridge, you will discover new joy and peace in your heart and find yourself able to share that joy and peace with others."

Henri Nouwen
The Inner Voice of Love

As Cheri reminded me, even Jesus had boundaries. There were many times when he fled the crowds to have some one-on-one time with his Father. Away from the clamoring needs of hurting people, he received what he needed to minister to their wounds.

He is our example.


Thank you for being my community. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Thank you for all of the encouragement. I have invited interaction, and I welcome it. Emily, please don't "keep your mouth shut." I'm the one that needs to do more of that! Being human, our words are often imperfect and don't always reflect adequately what is in our hearts. None of us like to be misunderstood, but it is inevitable. I am grateful that you encouraged me to re-read the hastily written post and that I had an opportunity to clarify. However, I promise that I won't subject everybody to some lengthy diatribe every single time I receive a comment that indicates that there was a disconnect between my heart and words. I am heeding the advice to "put my big girl panties" on and get on with it, knowing that every word that sneaks out of these fingers (or mouth!) is not going to be perfect and pure. But it's all cool. We're covered.


jeremiah's mom said...

i am SO glad cheri shared that quote with you about the drawbridge. what a perfect p.s. to your blog. i will ponder that illustration for a while. one thought this week was the exact one you shared about Jesus needing time away and HE is our example. I was reminded recently that Jesus' pattern was often to have time away and alone with His Father and then, get back out into the crowds. The time away perhaps gave him the energy/reserve/resolve to minister among the crowds as He continued to be about His Father's business. I work as a nurse in a clinic for mostly uninsured and down-on-their-luck people who tell heartbreaking and sad stories. I come home worn out at all the needs I've heard about that day. Most of the time all I can do for them is attend to their physical ailments and pray, if I even remember the details later that evening. I also realize that Jesus didn't heal every person He met nor did he have a conversation with everyone He passed. Yet, He had then and continues to have a worldwide and timeless impact. I take great joy in knowing Him as my Savior and knowing He is THE Ultimate 'Meeter of Needs'. AND, He even uses ME sometimes to help with that. Keep sharing, Kim and remember that Margery stirred things up a bit too!! we all need to stretch and think and be challenged so keep up the good work (and the big girl panties are a huge help too-thanks for reminding me!!) Hugs to precious Katherine from her Kentucky family!!!!!

Cheri said...

The encouragement goes both ways. I love the picture of tapping on a prison wall and realizing you aren't alone. What a perfect picture. How it must please God for His children to find one another. Much love . . .