We are each alone

One morning before a family reunion, I worried it would be superficially pleasant but not all that interesting. Who in my extended clan is really like me? I grew up in California, they grew up on the east coast. I’ve worked for years in Africa, none of them have. What do I have in common with them?

What if, I then wondered, I was not alone in feeling alone? I knew my list why the others were different. Did they each have their own list? They could well have. We are each unique, no one really knows anyone just like them.

It came to me: We are each alone. We each bear the privilege and the awkwardness or loneliness of being the only one of ourselves. It is God and God alone who knows us totally and perfectly, and who really understands. Sometimes other humans do understand, that is a blessing. But when they do not, should that be such a surprise?

What reminded me of this: Bruce B linked to a blogger I hadn't read before.

The simple Gospel I don't believe in

What I'd like to believe, but it isn't true:
Just have faith, and all your problems will be solved, all your wants will be satisfied.

The gospel I do believe in:
God is with you. As messy as life gets (and it does get messy), He is always with you and helps you endure.

A good reminder -- happiness comes from God

We think some external thing, status or experience will make us happy. God says we cannot be happy in ourselves, happiness is a relationship with him.

If we think "If only I could do, or be, or have something -- then I'd be happy," we haven't understood yet.

With God, we'll be OK, even if we are poor, sick, mistreated or abandoned. Without God, even getting all we want won't make us happy.

This post inspired by Ray Ortlund's blogpost.

Someone I don't envy

Picture this: you're 23 years old, in the second year of your first job out of college. You have a bad day at the office, make two big mistakes. Yet your job is such that your mistakes occurred on nationwide TV and get replayed over and over again, and will be replayed again for years to come. Half the country now knows your name as a classic blunderer, you've received death threats on Twitter. How would you feel?

I've made mistakes in my work answering computer questions. "I can't believe I forgot that I can't install X before I install Z" or "Duh! That's not the password for this account!" Once I opened someone's computer to take out the hard drive to copy files elsewhere, and the hard drive data cable came apart in my fingers. I had to order a new data cable and she was without her computer for a week while waiting for it to arrive. I didn't become a national figure of disdain.

But Kyle Williams, wide receiver and temporary punt returner for the San Francisco 49ers, is now infamous for two turnovers on punts in one game. Kyle, I appreciate your brave words about bouncing back and learning from it. I'm glad you feel the support of your teammates. Patrick Willis and David Akers, congrats on showing real team spirit and holding up Kyle right now.

And all this is just one more reason why the Apostle Peter told us to set our hope fully on the grace coming to us when Jesus Christ is revealed. Don't set your hope on winning or on never making a mistake, you can't guarantee that will happen. I hope Kyle gets another chance in a playoff game. But there's no guarantee that will happen. What is guaranteed? The love and promises of God.

Update: Reportedly, the New York Giants targeted Williams for hard hits, hoping to give him a concussion so he'd make mistakes. . Something's wrong with football if this is how the game is really played.