I don’t know many people that like feeling alone.
To be clear, I’m not speaking about being alone. Lots
of people like to be by themselves to think, pray,
recharge, etc. but that’s not what I mean. Rather, I’m
talking about feeling alone. The type of feeling that
reminds us that, if you yell, no one will hear. The type
that takes away your safety net and makes you feel a
deep-seated discomfort. I’m talking about the ‘stuck
on a deserted island’ type of alone.
There are all sorts of moments that can stir this feeling
within us, whether it’s walking along a deserted
roadside or travelling to a foreign country for the
first time by ourselves. In these moments, one often
experiences what it means to be truly lost in an
unfamiliar environment, creating anxiety and fear
even in the most confident people. Still, despite the
obvious hardships in these moments, I do believe that
there is one benefit to experiences such as these.
Being alone is when you find out who you really are.
A great example of this comes through the story of
Joseph in Genesis 39 (that’s right, the one with the
technicolour dreamcoat). The youngest in his family,
Joseph was definitely his dad’s favourite son which,
as you can imagine, did not sit well with his brothers.
So, they plotted to kill him. Sounds harsh, right? The
brothers thought so too so, instead, they opted to sell
him as a slave to a travelling caravan who then sold
him to Potipher, one of Pharoah’s highest appointed
officials. All of a sudden, the young man who once
seemed to have everything finds himself alone in the
middle of nowhere.
The most interesting thing to me about Joseph isn’t
what happened to him but how he handles himself
in this unfamiliar environment. Here is someone who
was stripped of his lifestyle, sold as a slave and shipped
off to a country where he had never been before. To
most people, this would have been a crippling blow.
It could be compared to those early-life struggles that
have come to define superheroes we know and fly
around pretending to be.
And like our superheroes, Joseph thrives.
What’s more, this isn’t the type of success that might
have been expected from a slave. This is a measure
of success that would be more commonly applied to
a wealthy master in his own household. Speaking in
modern terms, this would have been similar to a White
House kitchen cook being elevated to President’s
Chief of Staff or a cameraman being invited to take
the position of Vice-Chairman of Warner Bros. A true
rags to riches story: like a towel boy being elevated to
assistant GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In other words, it simply doesn’t happen. (Although,
if they get desperate enough, the Leafs situation
remains a possibility…)
By: Steve Norton