Monday, October 7, 2013

The Unintentional Recluse

The summer of 2000 my husband & I bought our current house. We had both grown up in the country but had lived most of our married life in Suburban USA. So in 2000 we bought a house with a few acres in Rural USA about 30 minutes from our Suburban life. 
Here's a couple of pictures of our driveway -- 
and as you may or may not be able to tell, our house cannot be seen from our mailbox.  
And for the past 13 years, this has been "home".  

This was taken last fall during one of the 
overcast days. 

And one of our cloudless fall days last year. 
We love our little corner of the world.

For years now, we've heard there are several "recluses" who live in our county. I actually saw one a couple of weeks ago when I drove by the road this person supposedly lives. 
I can't say "who" it is, but I'm sure several people would recognize the name.  But this person (along with a few others who reside in proximity) has made every endeavor to become (and remain) recluse. They intentionally set out to find the perfect "corner of the world" in which to reside. And for the most part, they have succeeded. 
Most everyone respects their privacy and their desire to remain separated from 
most of the world.  

But what about the unintentional recluse?  The person (or persons) who has not set out on a mission to be separated?  The ones who have just simply lost touch with friends or are not as involved in their community as they once had been? The ones who understand the old "if it's important to you then you'll find the time to do it", but they just truly cannot carve out any extra "time" for that particular "important"?

Would you believe me if I said "I have a friend ..."  ----- yeah, I thought not. 
Well, I at least had to try.  Maybe I should have titled this post 
"Confessions of an Unintentional Recluse" 
-- nah ... I won't get into confessing, but maybe I can help shed some light from my own experience in case any of my readers know a recluse or are one themselves.  
So, here goes ...

I've tried to convince my husband for years that I am not a people-person.  Well, after he's been shopping with me at some of my favorite places, he seems to think that I am in fact a people-person. I admit that there's a few    
well,  several   ...   okay ALOT of people 
whom I've met in passing and have developed some friendships.  I will stop and chat with them some & have even gotten pretty close to a few of them too.  So, although I'm certainly not admitting to anything (that may get back to my hubby),  
I do enjoy my friendships.  Facebook has been an avenue that I have reconnected with several of my past "best friends" (from high school, college, work) and several other friendships have grown throughout our reconnection.  

But then there's times when my life basically is on auto-pilot.   I know that every single one of us can truly say and mean that life is just plain busy. 
I completely understand. 
With 3 generations living under one roof ... 
I completely understand.  
With schedules, routines, space... 
I completely understand.  
Our pastor began a new series this past Sunday titled "Under Pressure" -- 
and I appreciated his statement (in effect) that everyone is under some sort of pressure. Whether it's school, work, home or any kind of related anything -- 
we all have busyness
we all have challenges
we all have pressures

And the good thing is -- God has us all at different stages in our lives. When some people look at our family, they say that they could never live with multiple generations under the same roof, whereas others say they are envious of our arrangement. 
Some look at us and say that we have not a clue what true challenges are in life, 
whereas others ask how in the world we get through everything that's happened over the past few years.

But, the truth is ... if we are children of God, He carries us through whatever the circumstance - trial - challenge is in our life.  And sometimes our day to day life gets put on auto-pilot. We are so consumed with living each day that sometimes one day turns into a week that turns into a month or months ... well, you get the picture.  
I've told many people that it seems like I could juggle more when our daughter was younger than I can now.  Dan & I both worked full-time, we were involved with our daughter's school & church activities, community activities... we were the outreach leaders for our adult Sunday School class as well as youth leaders for our mid-week services.  But now that I stay at home, I can't even seem to write a blog post once a week.

Becoming a recluse did not happen overnight ... and I know it's not going to reverse overnight either.  We carry on day by day as each of us feel that God is directing. We do what we can and we go to bed knowing (hoping, anyway) that we've done our best for that day. And we recognize that we simply cannot do everything. We thank God for His provisions and for His protection over our families. We go to sleep hopeful of God's new mercies in the morning.  We are thankful for our families and our friends. We are thankful that we are able to do what we can for those we are given the privilege to take care of.  

If you know an unintentional recluse -- or you see one in the looking glass ... don't give up on them. It's all for a season as the clock continues to pass away each moment.  Every one of us are in the middle of our own journey.  Your road is not the road that I've been given to travel ... and my road isn't the road that you've been given.  But somewhere and somehow along the way, our roads will connect and we will reconnect. And, speaking from my own personal experience, even the unintentional recluse needs a true friend who may not understand their journey but will never give up on them.   

And so, I am thankful for long driveways ... 
nobody else can see the driveway as I do ... 
nobody else can walk its gravel as I do ... 
nobody else but the One who walks alongside and even carries me.  

(Dan took this picture of me in May 2005 at Chimney Tops Picnic Area in Gatlinburg TN)

It doesn't matter the size of the boulder
God can handle it
and His strength becomes my strength.

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