Reality shows are largely farces and engineered but there is one particular programme that had me spellbound.
ALONE is an American reality show on History channel and the premise is fairly self-explanatory. A raw and grittier version of Survivor, but with a humongous twist – the competitor is left entirely to his/her own devices alone.
It always starts out the same – the contestant is energetic, buoyant and confident. And it always ends the same as well – the contestant is usually despondent, drained and dying for human contact. They often start reminiscing about their loved ones, reflecting on how they have taken them for granted.
This is human nature.
I know I have been guilty of thinking I can be totally independent, sans the help of loved ones. Or anyone else for that matter.
Taking it upon ourselves to solve our own problems, because that is just the way we roll in this day and age. For instance, let’s consider the work front. Taking up majority of our time, it is virtually unheard of to seek help from co-workers even when we know we can’t handle it. All in the name of independence.
We want to be the dependable one who can solve problems single-handedly. We want to put on a brave front, but at the end of the day, it’s simply exhausting.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Not in our personal and spiritual life at least. After all, Jesus Himself did not embark on His faith journey alone. He had with Him the good company of His 12 apostles as He preached from towns to cities.
And in the same way, the Church is our community. Consider this – how can we be made to be alone if we are asked to celebrate Mass as a community every Sunday? As a convert Catholic, I am thankful for the community. It gets lonely when you are the lone Catholic in the family.
And it is in the little actions like having a familiar face to say ‘Peace be with you’ at Mass, or even just to share a moment when you thought God was present. These actions I relish because I share them with a community.
God is everywhere, He is a part of our daily lives but in our humanness, it is so easy to lose sight of this. When things don’t fall into place (the way we want them to), it’s easy to question the presence of God. And God knows how often I have been guilty of this. Similarly, when life is all sunshine and breezy, God’s presence might not be apparent. This is when I feel the need for a community, more than ever. As a sounding board or even just someone to rant to, speaking to someone else (but yourself) will help shed new light and glean new perspectives.
And while our relationship with God will always be a personal encounter, I have felt God speaking to me through the people around me. Inspiration hits me when I least expect it. How often have we struggled with issues in our lives, only to meet another who has/had experienced the same struggles? To me, there are no coincidences in life and it’s divine intervention that has brought solace to me through the people I meet.
There’s an African Proverb that has always resonated with me:
“If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.”
And together, with my community, suits me just fine.
At Landings, we believe there’s strength in numbers as we lean on another through our faith journeys. Won’t you come and see?