SPIRITUAL MATTERS: Love leads the way and backs us up
“I VALUE my independence!”
How often have we heard these words – or others in similar vein?
While many people are quite gregarious and outgoing, others are more comfortable in their own skin – with who they are – and prefer minimal social interaction.
The experience of one young woman serves to illustrate the fact that we really do need each other if we are to stay safe while negotiating the pathway through life.
Linda was travelling alone up a dangerous highway from Alberta to the Yukon. It was late autumn, and Linda didn’t know that it’s unwise to travel alone on such roads – particularly in a rundown Honda Civic, and especially as the bitter-cold winter months begin to flex their clammy claws. So she set off quite happily on her lone adventure.
The first evening she found a room in the mountains near the summit of a high pass, and asked for a 5am wakeup call so she could get an early start. She couldn’t understand why the receptionist looked surprised at her request. But as she awoke to dense early morning fog shrouding the mountains, she understood.
Not wanting to look foolish, she got up and went to breakfast. Two truckers were already seated in the tiny restaurant and kindly invited Linda to join them. She hesitated, then accepted their offer.
“Where are you headed?” one of the truckers asked. “Whitehorse,” Linda replied.
“In that little Civic? No way! This pass is dangerous in weather like this.”
“Well, I’m determined to try,” was Linda’s gutsy, if not very informed, response.
“Then I guess we’re just going to have to hug you,” the trucker suggested.
Linda drew back. “There’s no way I’m going to let you touch me!”
“Not like THAT!” the truckers chuckled. “We’ll put one truck in front of you and one behind. That way, we’ll get you safely through the mountains.”
So all that foggy morning, Linda followed the red dots of the lead truck’s tail-lights while feeling reassured by the presence of the big escort behind her as their small convoy snaked its way through those rugged mountain passes with sheer drops on either side.
Even an independent young woman like Linda felt grateful and appreciative of the care and company of the two burly truckers who’d befriended her. Appreciated their special ‘hug’.
In this COVID-19 era, many of us rue the passing of the normal, friendly hug or handshake by way of greeting or farewell. The scriptures encourage us to greet each other with a brotherly or sisterly hug. This has been a social norm entrenched in the fellowship of Christian community for yonks. Now that’s a no-no. Frowned upon. Denied us. We must keep our distance! And that flies in the face of our essential human nature.
This new norm is particularly hard when life deals us a bitter hand. Caught in the fog in our dangerous passage through life, Christians value the warmth of a caring hug. And not just Christians either. Human beings were created to express love – both in the giving and the receiving.
Travelling with those who know the way and can lead safely while others bring up the rear, we experience great blessings and feel gently encouraged as we negotiate the perilous road of life over rugged and challenging ranges. And even the most independent among us must learn to place our trust in each other – and in the One who holds our life and future in his hands!