Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Difference Is a Space

In writing there are times when a blank space determines meaning; it is true in writing, it is true in life.

Consider: We can be a part of a group, or we may be apart from a group. Are we a part or are we apart? Are there times we think we are a part when we are really apart? Whether or not there is a space between the “a” and the “p” makes all the difference.

We may think because we live in close proximity to others that we are a part of others, but then things happen and we realize there was a space between us all the time, a space we didn’t see, a space we didn’t notice – and so the absence of space was an illusion – we were not really a part as we thought, we were instead apart.

My arm is a part of my body, I would notice it if it were gone. My little finger is not a prominent part of my body, though it is quite useful when typing (or keyboarding as I think it is now called), but I assure you that if I should lose it through an accident that it would be missed – my finger that once was a part of my body would be rendered apart from my body.

Yet when people leave churches or ministerial associations or other forms of fellowship it usually is as if they were never there to begin with, for unlike my arm or finger they are seldom missed, or if missed they are not missed for long, and often all communication ceases with no thought of restoration. Contrast this attitude with what my attitude would be toward my little finger should I cut it off when using my chain saw – I should call the EMTs, pack it in ice, and pray that it could be reattached – I would consider the loss of my little finger an emergency. Why is it that we seldom consider the loss of relationships an emergency?  

What would you think of me if having severed my arm in an accident, I had a laissez faire attitude and said, “Oh, it was never really a part of my body”?

The space determines the meaning, are we a part or are we apart? In family? With coworkers? In church?

I am troubled that we can pray with others weekly, worship in song with others, break bread with others, participate in small groups with others; and yet when a member of the body leaves (for whatever reason) it is often as if that member were never a part of the body – there is no recognition that I have lost an arm or a leg or an ear or an internal organ. It is as if our attitude is, “It’s great if we have a nose and two ears, but if we should lose them it will not matter greatly, besides, it’s their loss not to be on our head.”