Dream word – CULTIVATE
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.” NKJV
One of my good friends, founder and director of a multifaceted missions organisation, has one long running project, whose arms reach out to the street people of his own home city, remarked to me just lately regarding his concern over the increasing problem and rising percentage of former long term military veterans finding themselves homeless and living on the streets.
There are lots of reasons for homeless veterans but I am sure that one of them, is an inability to cope with life after being removed from an organisation with purpose, direction, value and most of all, from such a close comradely fellowship, that only people who have been in the armed forces can fully appreciate. As a former submarine sailor, I testify that you never forget the feeling of being part of a very close unit. You rarely find such fellowship outside of the armed forces and so consequently, you do feel the loss of such closeness and unity most profoundly and always pine for its return. Without some semblance of this manly closeness being found elsewhere, often a black hole of depression and all its consequent ills, forms at the centre of an old soldiers being, which will eventually suck the life out of him and kill his capacity to hope and cope. Such was the fate of enlisted soldier Voytek, of the Polish 2nd Army Corps, 22nd Transport Division, Artillery Supply Troops.
Voytek, having stood shoulder to shoulder with his comrades at the crucial battle of Monte Casino in Northern Italy, loading trucks with artillery shells while under heavy fire himself, was along with his unit, retired to
Voytek had been with the Polish army since they had found him as a youngster, being carried in a sack along the roads and in the mountains of
I was out at the pub with this same Mission Director friend of mine after discussing the homeless situation of veterans. A man sat at the table next to us eating alone. Once he had lubricated his social ineptness with a few beers, he began overtly seeking fellowship with others, waving madly at anyone who passed his table, smiling like a loon, laughing loudly and drawing attention to himself, trying to force a conversation, any conversation, to get an invitation into discussions and depth he could never truly be part of. I have seen this man many times, the nice but freaky bag man, employed as the collector of abandoned shopping trolleys at the local super market. The loneliness of mental illness is as deep and black as it is, long and sad. It was obvious that this man did not even have a memory of close comradely fellowship. He was a veteran of loneliness. Maybe that was a bitter blessing? Maybe not?
Are you lonely tonight? I am so sorry if you are. It is a most terrible position to be in and is in fact, a cosmic condition which we all share and often experience if we allow ourselves to approach the centre of our being. You are not alone in this experience my friend. You are not alone.
However, if you long for a closeness and a fellowship of body soul and spirit, that only a band of like-minded brothers or sisters can provide you with, then Christian, the community of saints is the only place this can possibly be cultivated to the depth we so longingly crave. Such communities are often not pretty, and they are very hard work as well but friends, and you are my friends, it’s all we’ve got, so help us God!
On the morrow then, let us begin this deep cultivation of the spirit ourselves, by becoming a true friend to a few, maybe not so good men in the community of saints, the
Listen: “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” - Proverbs 18:24 NKJV
Pray: Lord, thank You for the circle of friends and level of friendship I enjoy. Help me to be a better friend, cultivating the heart and soul of others for their betterment and our mutual closeness. However Lord, please be that friend of mine, deeper than family, firmer than similar souls, stickier than superglue, both on my finger and on my thumb. In Your great name I ask it, amen.
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