Spiritual StrugglesWhen you struggle spiritually, how do you react?
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from the movie "There Be Dragons"
Read: Ruth 1:16-18
Ruth and Naomi formed a solid bond during difficult times. Naomi was a great source of support and wisdom for Ruth. When the time came to decide whether to part ways, Ruth decides that their relationship is indispensable.
In "There Be Dragons," Josemaria visits his old friend Manolo when he hears of the death of Manolo’s father. He tries to console Manolo and connect with him to help him process his father’s death, but Manolo resists, saying, “We are born alone and we die alone…” This is just one example of how Manolo spends his life in isolation. Later he will go deeper into isolation living as a spy, and carrying dark secrets that keep him from connecting with others, even those he loves.
Josemaria, on the other hand, is always connecting with the people around him - sharing meals, getting advice and giving advice, helping and being helped, supported through his times of challenge and there to support others. Josemaria’s friends made the difference, for him, between life and death, success of his mission, and failure. Manolo struggled in solitude, living a life of “quiet desperation”.
Before moving on, pause for a moment. You are probably a busy person. Busyness can numb the pain of loneliness, but deep down the loneliness remains. Are you lonely? Are there people in life with whom you are, no matter what, going to “go the distance?” Can you take steps to better cultivate those relationships?
1) Sociologists have identified four basic levels of belonging:
- A Public identification with a nation, school, tribe, etc…
- A The ability to socialize casually and thrive in groups of strangers and acquaintances.
- A The cultivation of friendship (up to a dozen people)
- An Intimacy (up to 3 others, spouse, close family member, best friend)
2) All of these levels are important. Which do you find the easiest? Which do you find the hardest?
3) Jesus was good with all four: Big crowds, wedding parties, the 12 disciples, and his closest friends:
Peter, James and John.
4) How many meals per week do you eat sitting down with others? How can you raise the number by one or two per week?
5) What are the advantages of running ideas by friends? Have you ever made huge mistakes by
deciding things all by yourself?
6) How can people become overly attached to celebrities and sports heroes; such “fan” behavior becoming a poor substitute for real relationships?
7) Living life in community and family can be messy. It is simpler to be alone. But what is the tradeoff?
Powerful Testimony of Actor Wes Bentley