“Here we go!” We stepped out and started walking.
It was Saturday morning. Ernie and I were walking two laps of the Mall, both the first and second level, because we still hoped to get in shape and lose a few pounds.
After two minutes I was huffing and puffing because this was only the third every-other-Saturday we’d met to do this.
Getting in shape was a challenge for me. I had bought some new walking shoes. In fact, I had them on. I was thinking about how snug and supported my feet felt when Ernie said, “There’s a push-me pull-me going on, you know that, right?”
“Say what?” I had no idea what Ernie was talking about.
“You know, the Holy Spirit pushes me toward health and my flesh pulls me toward sickness. Push-me pull-me.”
“Oh … OK. Sure, I suppose that’s right.” We were walking fast enough to pass a white-haired lady in sweats pushing her walker.
“It’s a tug of war … It’s holding the live bird behind your back and asking someone is it alive or dead? … It’s owning two dogs … which is stronger? The one you feed the most.”
I was confused again. Ernie picked up the pace even more. Now I felt like we were really cruising! “It’s a tug of war?”
“Yes absolutely, but there’s something else to the push and pull.”
I had the thought that if he talked maybe he’d slow down. So I asked him, “Like what?”
Ernie didn’t hesitate or miss a step. “It’s something we sense exists though we rarely admit that it exists. Yet, we know it does.”
My mind began to drift because I’d lost focus on what Ernie said. I want to be kind and attentive though, because I think Ernie probably has something important to say … well maybe not important, but hey what sort of friend would I be if I didn’t politely listen and try to keep up? “I’m sorry … I missed what you’re saying … we know what exists?”
“Partly it’s this: We are not alone.”
“Not alone? You mean like X Files not alone?” Ernie paid no attention to my comment.
“And what’s more we are not only not alone, we are connected to something more than just us.”
“Wow! Ernie I …”
“This is a big part of our truth that we’re inclined to ignore.”
“Ernie I’ve got to tell you that you’ve lost me.” He didn’t hear me or pretended not to.
“This means, we are not merely connected … we are interconnected.”
“Interconnected?” We were zooming past Macy’s and closing in on Barnes and Noble.
“Yes, our life is twisted and intertwined with other things.”
“Hmm, things such as?”
“Things like the earth. Things like the animals. Things like the universe. Things in the spiritual realm.” I stumbled. Ernie kept going.
“So what? What’s your point?” I took a couple longer and faster strides to catch up
Ernie headed toward the stairs that would take us up to the second level of the mall. “Well one point is this, what I do or don’t do, what you do or don’t do, affects the things we’re intertwined with.”
“Really? How so? And why does this matter?” We’d reached the top of the stairs. We were on level two. We had a half a lap of the mall to go and then we’d head down to the parking lot to our cars and drive home.
“I’m just saying something about being aware of influences,” Ernie punctuated the air with his finger.
“I have an influence on things and things have an influence on me … I don’t act without consequences with the things I’m interconnected with and neither do you.”
“That sounds complicated.”
“It isn’t. How I behave has a cause and effect. I act this way or that way and it causes a reaction in the world …”
“In the world?”
“… in the world … on the earth … among the heavens. What I do or don’t do doesn’t just happen to or within me … others are affected … others are influenced. Does this sound wrong to you?”
“Honestly, I’m going to need to give this more thought.” I wanted to sit down and reflect on being interconnected … on not being alone. There was a bench just ahead that looked inviting.”
“I realize it sounds like a reach … the ramblings of someone who ought to be committed and dismissed …”
“Whoa, whoa! Why so negative?” We past the bench.
“Well I guess I recognize what I’ve been missing by not paying attention to how I’m being pushed and pulled in my life.”
“Influences touch and affect influence. And other influences influence the common good or common bad.”
“OK I see how we’re interconnected, and how what I do or don’t do affects you, and everyone and everything else.” We’d finished walking the mall and were moving toward the parking lot.
Ernie said, “I’ve thought I was trapped on an island. I thought I was the only resident and what I did or didn’t do had no affect or influence on anything or anyone but me. I’ve been naive.”
“Hmm, OK … So what are you going to do from now on?” We stood by our cars parked next to each other.
“I’m going to stop pretending that what I do or don’t do doesn’t matter to anyone or anything but me because I’m realizing that what I do or don’t do pushes me away or pulls me toward God’s best for me.”
We climbed into our cars and drove to the sanctuary of our homes. I meditated on the way.
What I do or don’t do matters.
It matters because I am not alone.
I am connected to you and you are connected to me.
Our actions influence what happens or doesn’t happen in the world we live in.
Are we missing something vital because we’ve believed nothing matter but me?
Thanks for listening to Lee’s Nite Radio.
Kari Jobe: I Am Not Alone