The Solo Crisis–Ecclesiastes 4:7-8

The lonely blogger is having an existential crisis today. After posting to this space for four months in a row, I determined to “sharpen the saw” and attend a WordPress conference. Over the last hour, I sat through a keynote address that left me thinking–and you have to imagine a powerful voice with reverb here–I am completely out of my depth.

I just want to write. I just want to share my struggles to discover wisdom with an audience. That’s it. But it sounds like, if I really want to accomplish this and get more than 13 hits a day, I’ll need to learn a hundred different technical factors or hire technically-minded people.

My crisis is this: I don’t always play well with others. That’s why I like teaching college English. They point me to a classroom and send me 24 students, expecting that I’ll achieve the course objectives and turn in grades 16 weeks later. That’s my perfect world, but the WordPress camp suggests that I’m doomed. I’m the “person without a companion” that Solomon mentions:

Again I saw futility under the sun. There is a person without a companion, without even a son or brother, and though there is no end to all his struggles, his eyes are still not content with riches. “Who am I struggling for,” he asks, “and depriving myself of good things?” This too is futile and a miserable task.

Ecclesiastes 4:7-8

Struggling Alone

As an introvert, I find this a frustrating and daunting couple of verses. Some of the people I know–I’d call them friends, but I don’t have all that many people who rise to that level–are natural extroverts and cooperators. These people maintain a vast network of contacts and know how to work with those people in a variety of ways.

But that’s not me. And I believe that even some of these extrovert networking types go into an introvert coma when the subject turns to matters of the spirit. Those extrovert people I know might go out with three complete strangers for a golf tournament and, by the end of nine holes, know the names of the other guys’ kids and have a skiing vacation planned for next January. But when one of those guys gets serious and says something like “Guys, I pray about it all the time, but I just can’t shake my porn habit,” the others will quickly steer the conversation back to golf or kids or skiing.

Getting in Tune

Many people–and I think it is men more than women–have a hard time talking about the serious issues of Christian discipleship. Instead, they tend to try to do a free-solo climb up the mountains of this world. But that’s not God’s plan for us.

In Luke 9, Jesus sends those first twelve disciples in pairs. That on-the-job training apparently yielded results, because in the next chapter, he’s sending out 72 disciples, again in pairs. Even Jesus Himself, the man I tried to describe as an introvert recently, took the disciples to support Him in Gethsemane.

Some things we have to do alone, but God gave us other people for a reason. We’ll grow more when we struggle together.