…I was afraid, and went and hid my talent in the earth…
--Matthew 25:25 (NIV)
“Gosh, I just don’t know why people don’t want to be around me!” sighed Army Private Karen Little. “I help others when they ask for help. I even volunteer some of my time even when I’m not asked. I know I’m not the friendliest person at times but that shouldn’t scare people off.”
“What do you like doing Private?” asked Sergeant Jan Lindley.
“I want to have some friends. Somebody that I can talk to, have fun with, ya know, do things with,” she replied.
“But once again, what things are you interested in? I gotta know that if I’m gonna help you make help you to make and keep friends while you’re in the Army,” stated Sergeant Lindley.
Private Little thought for about ten seconds: “Sarge, I kinda like collecting dolls. When I left for the Army, I left over thirty dolls with my mom. But who cares about my doll collection. In school, I love bird watching! Do you know bird watching is called ‘birding’? You can see some really neat birds! Eh, I guess nobody would be excited about that either.”
Sergeant Lindley encouraged Private Little to talk with some of the other members of her squad about “birding”. Organize one or two individuals who like animals.
“Do you think this will work?” asked Private Little.
“Why don’t you give it a try? It’s a start. At least it’s something you’re interested in. You’d be surprised at what some people might be interested in. Go ahead! Try it! What can you lose?”
“You know, Sarge, you might be right. Yeah, I’ll give a shot.”
Within a week, Private Little, was able to interest three Platoon members in “birding”. Now she is immersed in “birding”, Private Little is socializing with the persons she befriended. Very quickly the group of three became twenty-two. The group included the Battalion Commander, a First Sergeant and a Chaplain. Within six months, Private Little and the “birding” group began planning off-duty field trips, made contact with eleven “birding groups” in the United States and developed a binder of bird species on post at Fort Jackson. Private Little has more friends than she could imagine just six months before. She no longer complains of being lonely.
So what is the lesson in this very short story? He/She who complains about a boring, lonely life is failing to utilize the skills and talents given every last one of us by God. When one pursues friendships, the search most often comes up empty. However, when one pursues their interests, friendships will follow.
Jesus once said that if we will be faithful over a few things that the Father gives her/him joy will come and be with that person. With joy, happiness will follow. Is this not the best medicine to loneliness, fear and sadness?
Prayer: Lord direct me to examine myself to discover my talents for Your praise and Your
glory and well-being of myself and other others. Amen