Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What Humans Want

You remember that song, One Is the Loneliest Number? Boy, there’s an earth-shattering observation. Because, I was confused about which number was lonelier, one or 4,539. Isn’t part of the definition of “lonely” simply being singular? I mean, how many numbers are singular? Exactly.

Loneliness, however, is more than merely being alone. I can be surrounded by people, even those who care about me, and still feel the pangs of relational emptiness. Community, if perhaps the opposite of loneliness, is more than numbers. It is love.

Trudging over to the refrigerator in What Women Want, a heart-sick Mel Gibson opens it, only to declare, “She’s not in here!” Oh, how often the vacuous discomfort we feel in lonely times propels us to seek comfort in food, drink, or other forms of medication and escapism. I am so guilty of this. What we really want is not to “feel good fast” as Larry Crabb puts it. We want love, intimacy, soul-food.

G.K. Chesterton opines so insightfully, “Every man who knocks on the door of a brothel is looking for God.” This is what, or who, we really want: God, and his representatives here on earth, also known as friends. Why is this so hard to see, in those hours of acute loneliness?

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters and you who have no money come, buy and eat.
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
Help me, O God, to recognize my hunger for what it truly is – a hunger for love, so that I might not fill my self with things that do not satisfy.


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