Loneliness

maroon-bells

Most of the years growing up, my family vacationed in Colorado. We always joined other members of Mom’s family. We all loved the mountains. They were so beautiful! The Maroon Bells, shown here were one of the places we visited. Cragged rocks clad in white reached almost to the heavens. Crystal clear streams cascading down in waterfalls, eventually settling in the purest lakes. The change from the near flat world of west Texas was so dramatic. The plants, trees, and flowers were also completely different from what we were used to. We would camp out, hike and fish. I started collecting rocks at the age of six, a hobby I would keep into manhood. It was so wonderful being able to pick up beautiful crystals.

We moved to Colorado Springs when I was 13. But we didn’t live very close to my cousins or my new friends at church. I felt very lonely a lot of the time, missing Abilene and Danny, my best friend. Some things I did with my brother, but mostly I spent hours finding things to entertain myself with: Shooting BBs and a bow and arrows, hitting a tether ball back and forth on a pole, throwing darts and knives. I got pretty good with one knife, eventually using and almost always hitting the 2” side of a 2 x 4 for a target (which is actually 1 3/4″). I missed Danny, my best friend terribly. Somewhere in there, I remembered the pictures of a naked woman we had found and began to “dumpster dive”. I wasn’t just looking for more pictures. I also found other interesting trash: old transistor radios, pieces of metal and wood for building something, anything cool. At fifteen I hit pay dirt and found a couple of Playboy magazines. It took only a minute to be hooked on professional pornography, keeping them this time as “my own little secret”.

It has been helpful for me to do a bit analyzing about the associations of feeling with temptations that tend to bring them on.

I think often our emotions are mixed in with our fleshly desires, giving them more power and importance. These desires intensify the emotions we appreciate, while lessoning the effect of negative ones.  I found it was really an illusion in this case. Have you had times where you’ve experienced this?

No Pain or Trouble Is Ever Wasted

refiner

Malachi 3: Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness…

Jesus is foretold as a refiner and soap. I used to make jewelry for a jewelry store. I usually made it using old gold and silver. As the old gold fully melted, impurities would come to the top. Once I was making a couple of personal items, rings that hold a crystal on a watch. One of them  came out well and was easily formed completely round on a mandrel. I then turned quite easily on a small lathe. The other ended up with a stubborn place. I had difficulty making it round. It was not easy to start over so I persevered.  I eventually traded the rawhide mallet I was using for a small brass hammer, then a heavier steel one.

I think sometimes we are like them both. Sometimes we are very cooperative with the Saviors reforming other times we resist, not wanting to give up what Jesus wants to change. It seems then trouble and pain increase. They are there to drive home the lesson. So when we feel we are going though a time of trouble or pain, it is a good idea to ask the Lord to show us what we need to learn through this.