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The Loner
Glenn A. Hascall

For most of my life I have been a loner, and before I was married, I didnít often go out with friends. When I did make plans, my parents celebrated by announcing it to the neighbors by megaphone, while performing a complicated clog dance on the front lawn. The neighbors stood staring, with transfixed expressions.
Sort of like deer caught in the headlights.

"Donít you want to know where Iím going?" Iíd ask.

"Why, are you going to rob a bank?" Dad asked as he stopped clogging.

"Ah, Iíd never do that, Dad." I responded in embarrassment.

"Frighten old ladies as they walk down the sidewalk?" He continued to query.

"Not intentionally," I responded.

"Then I donít need to know Ė just donít change your mind, son Ė now be off with ya, lad." He and mom raised their hands high over head as they began to yodel. They were still blending cultural art forms on the front lawn when I left, the neighbors still unable to move.

Sure there were moments when I planned to go out and do something fun, perhaps even dangerous. However most of those outings resulted in an inordinate amount of pain and suffering usually resulting in the loss of some part of my body.

Take for instance a youth group outing in which I was in charge of guiding a three-wheeler to a frozen pond surrounded by burning tires. Now, Iím certain staunch environmentalists are cringing even as I write this, but we were young, didnít know better and had never even heard the term "environmental". Besides everyone there wanted a ride behind the three-wheeler.

This particular event had all the hallmarks of a fun winterís night in rural Wyoming. I accelerated and followed directions to the pond Ė a round sled rattled along behind me.

The funny thing about three-wheelers is that they donít actually pay attention to you when you turn the wheel, theyíre far too busy plotting your demise. You see, I discovered this truth on the night in question. The headlight was about as effective as a dim flashlight and I saw the impending strand of barbed wire a second too late. I turned the wheel to avoid it but the three wheeler never paid any attention, in fact I think I heard it whistling the theme to the Andy Griffith Show as my leg became food for the barbed wire.

Then, simply because the demon three-wheeler refused to acknowledge my right to frustration, it coughed up the pull chord and taunted me, "Just try and start me now!" I pushed the three-wheeler the last half mile to the pond Ė my right leg dragging behind me.

Is it any wonder that I like to be alone? I come by the tendency honestly and perhaps genetically.

In my family, my parentís believed that when you visited someone's house for a meal you ate it gratefully, thanked the host and excused yourself Ė then you went home because you never knew when a flying roast might wipe you out in the living room. It never occurred to me that when you went to visit someone, they might actually enjoy visiting with you.

After I married, I took my beautiful bride to her parents home for a Sunday meal, ate gratefully, thanked my new family, took my bride and went home, exclaiming, "Lovely table, nice meal, good food, gotta go, thanks so much, bye-bye!" This would be followed by stunned expressions and a squeaky door that confirmed our exit.

It soon became apparent that this was not the same formula Nancy had been trained to use in social settings. She broached the subject as tactfully as possible, "Whatís wrong with you? Iíve never had whiplash with a meal before!"

In the beginning of my marital metamorphosis, it was excruciating to actually sit down in someone else's house and conduct a post meal conversation. I couldn't help but feel that I was overstaying my welcome. I had to resist the urge to run like a cat wearing toe socks.

Over a period of time, visiting became more natural. In fact, after two decades, I'm getting pretty good at it.

I am careful, however, to also take time that is important to a healthy spiritual life.

When Jesus had His ministry here on earth He took plenty of time to be alone as He communed with His Father. That's a really good argument for solitude.

God's Word says, "Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together," but there are also times that we have to be alone to commune with our Father. So which is it - should we seek solitude or should we seek to spend time with other Christians?

Both. You see, God can't speak to us if we constantly have something going on. Sometimes when God speaks to us, it's to tell us to do something for or with other people.

You can't continually drive a car without stopping to fill the tank, neither can you let the car sit and expect the parts to remain rust-free.

God has designed each of us with a need for interaction with other people. He also instilled in us a need that only He can fill, and taking the time to be still is good for the soul.

You can't share the love of Jesus by sitting alone at home, but unless you rest in His embrace, you can't recognize God's love.

The bottom line is this, be still - then go where He sends you. Oh, and try not to clog dance in public when your children have friends over, it embarrasses the kids and ruins the grass.
Glenn Hascall is a twice-published author, avid amateur photographer and a happy Papa and Hubby. He is the Director of Christian Media, Inc, and in his spare time, he sleeps. To find out more about his ministries, visit www.kcmi.cc

LIFE LESSONS FROM 2004:
I have learned that getting old is not for sissies. The process of aging is difficult at its very best. Wrinkles appear and multiply like rabbits. Hair disappears, never to be seen again, and teeth donít last a lifetime. (Lucian Thompson)



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