When Brothers Live Together; Part I

So, I want to start a new series. This time, on the subject of community. I've had quite a few post ideas knocking around in my head for the past few weeks, and this morning I had the sudden revelation that most of them pertained, in some way, to the theme of 'brothers living together in harmony' (or not). Here's installment #1. 
My life promises to get busy again this next week, so I have no idea when the other posts will be forthcoming. 
Your input is, as always, appreciated.

I have now spent quite a few days living, all by myself, in a foreign country.

And I have not been lonely.

The closest I've been to loneliness is when I've entertained the occasional thought of, 'oh! People! It might be pleasant to see some people...sometime.' And I've actually looked forward to going to church.

Please don't misunderstand me: I love church. But there have been many days when the realization that there will be people there and that I will be expected to talk to them has very nearly frightened me into staying home. When, my hand on the door latch, I've thought, 'I can't talk to one more person. I can't.'

Because people can be scary and words can be hard. Even when they're in English...nevermind a language in which I am (slowly, slowly, slowly) becoming halfway-fluent.

In fact, on reflection, I don't know if I've ever been properly lonely once, in my entire life.

I do know that I have spent (probably too much time) wondering when I could soonest (while maintaining all politeness) leave my company and go be somewhere solitary.

But for all that, I am a passionate lover of my fellow man. I never ceased to be amazed by the beauty and individuality of each and every image of God that I encounter.

You, my fellow human.

Yes, you.

You exhaust me.
Intrigue me.
Baffle me.
I admire you.
I love you.

And now, I have realized that I also need you.

For years I have talked - only part-jokingly - about building a cabin on some remote mountaintop and living there. I'm fairly certain that loneliness wouldn't be much of a problem for me. But, after these days alone, I realize that motivation would.

Didn't really expect to see that revelation coming.

I have to credit God with knowing what He was about when He created two people in the Garden of Eden. "It is not good for man to live alone." He stated, thereby forming the basis for this thing that we call 'community'.

While I am a great advocate for community as a means of purifying my selfish heart - helping me to cultivate the virtues of patience, long-suffering, and service - I had not realized how greatly the presence of other people affected my ability to perform. I think it is simply that my truest joy in work lies in performing it as service to others. Take the 'others' out of the picture, and my joy is gone...along with most of my motivation. What's the fun of working if I'm the only person to benefit from it? The thing that keeps me going is rarely the importance of the task or the level of personal significance attached to it. It's the realization that there will be consequences for other people if I fail.

And so I think it all comes down to this:

That you, my fellow human.

Yes, you.

The one whom I admire.
Whom I love.
Who intrigues me,
Baffles me,
The one whose presence, no matter how agreeable, will eventually exhaust me.

You are needed.

If a part of my God-created nature is, as I believe it to be, a call to serve, then to live in isolation is to deny a part of myself. Ultimately, to rob myself of both destiny and joy.

I need your presence as a motivation to do what I know is right.

I am dependent on you to help me exercise and maintain my virtues, even though, sometimes, I may be a bit grudging about it. Without you, I become less than myself. And that is a great pity and an even greater waste.

Brother, let me be your servant,
Let me be as Christ to you,
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let you be my servant, too. 
-Celtic Daily Prayer