Friday, February 19, 2016

A Rebel, for sure. But a Loner?

"I’m a loner, Dottie.  A rebel." - Pee Wee Herman, Pee Wee's Big Adventure

Don’t you just love Pee Wee?

When thinking of a solitary sort, someone who likes to be by herself a lot, one who prefers time alone and away from others in a crowd, this clip comes to mind.  It’s a leftover from childhood, a silly scene from a movie that we watched on a loop and quoted often.

It resonates with me, this line.  Despite it being funny that Pee Wee Herman could be anything that closely resembles a rebel, that a person could be characterized by her need to get away, to be alone often, to not rely on the company of others to feel energized, and to be recognized as this specific type of person, is validating.

I didn’t realize it then, but I was this person.  I am this person.

Being in community is wonderful and fulfilling, fun and meaningful.  Spending time among others, taking part in inspiring conversations, learning and helping and living together – this is why we were made.  No man is an island.  We need each other to survive.

I know this.  I live this.  I keep my family members alive every day.  Proof of this is that they rely on me to know what they will eat later.

The service aspect of my job is obvious.  I’ve spent years doing for others; it’s my main job.  But serving is exhausting.  I know this.  I live this.  Regularly getting away from constant service is the key to physical and mental health.  Asserting my need and taking the time to for rest has become a side job, because who doesn’t like to always have someone around to serve them?  There is always another need.  It’s up to me to retreat.

I learned this with difficulty, but Jesus knew it well.

After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.
When evening came, he was there alone.
Matthew 14:23

 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up,
left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Mark 1:35

 After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.
Mark 6:46

 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Luke 5:16

 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray,
and spent the night praying to God. 
Luke 6:12 

Now, look. I Googled “Bible verses about Jesus retreating” and came up with these. They are written by different people about the same guy, and are probably written about the same events they experienced together, so seeing these verses together may be overstating Jesus’ need to run off into the woods to get away from everyone for a while. We all know Jesus was a rebel, but maybe he wasn’t the loner I am hoping he is to further validate my own loner tendencies. He is a good role model, though.

During those times Jesus gets away by himself, he doesn’t lie on the couch and read, or cruise social media, or watch TV, or shop, or even drive aimlessly, doing his best Adele impression along with the radio.

Jesus retreats, and he prays. He spends his downtime with God. He doesn’t hoard the time, hurrying to get miracles and teaching and work for the day over with so he can get back to his room and relax by watching YouTube videos.

Jesus doesn’t grumble over the time he spends serving. He serves, stops to eat, rest, and pray, fills up on God, and gets back to it. Because he knows that is his job. And his job is important.

We are all here to do whatever it is we are doing. We were made to serve, and rest when we are tired.  Jesus knew the importance of these things, and he knew how to do them well.

I recognize that my time to regroup and rest is as precious as what I give away. But maybe it is a little too precious and not as fulfilling as it could be if I focused on asking God to restore me during that time.

YouTube can fill the minutes, but it can’t fill my soul.



  1. You know my favorite verse? “Thou hast made us for thyself, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee. ... " I see that here. Love to you, wonderful friend. xo

    1. Those are good words for me to focus on. Thank you for bringing them here. xo