On the scale of spectrum of social interaction, I would say I lean about 80% to the side of “introvert.” I gain energy from having time to spend however I want to spend it, whether that be playing video games, reading some comics, or even doing chores.
I’m not afraid to say that I’ve seen at least 60 movies in theaters in the last year and would be surprised if more than a third of them were with others.
No, I have no problem finding ways entertain myself while in solitude, and extended amounts of time with others, even close friends, usually leave me feeling as though I need to recharge.
I say all that to emphasize what I want to say next: I miss being around others. I miss seeing the same friends and faces I see when I walk into the lobby at Harvest. I miss having people over for dinner and a board game. I miss going out after Sunday worship together and getting Thai food while playing with my goddaughter.
The longer this time of quarantine and social distancing goes on, the more I long for it to be over.
And I wonder if this is what I should be feeling as I await the return of the messiah.
Stockholm syndrome is a phenomenon that occurs when a captive starts to feel trust or admiration toward those who’ve taken them hostage. It is a strange reaction that, for those who are looking in, seems to be a completely backward reaction toward a horrible situation.
It’s hard for me to place myself in the shoes of someone who has experienced this disposition. However, if I am honest with myself, there have been times when I have pursued things that only have value on this Earth with such abandon that I can imagine God looked down on me and say someone passionately chasing that which has enslaved him, rather than eagerly awaiting the return of Jesus.
Have I become so accustomed to life here on Earth that life after the return of the Christ, where pain and striving will cease and the perfection of the Garden of Eden will return, has simply become a part of my theology, rather than a future reality on which I can depend? Have I placed the temporary amusement found in a movie above the everlasting peace of life in the presence of God? I’d like to say “no,” but I don’t think that would be the most truthful of responses.
At the end of the day, this is going to be something I struggle with forever. Without the safety of an exact date to look forward to, the return of Jesus will always be, in some portion, something I can “put off” until tomorrow.
For now, though, I will take my current feelings of discontent and desire to reunite with friends and go back to “normal” and use them to understand that our time on Earth is not meant to be the end goal, but a poor version of things yet to come; a time when we return to what God had planned for us from the start.