It Takes All Kinds

Our family came across a poster this last week that caused a good laugh in our house.  It read, "Introverts your own rooms."

Because we have a full house of six people that is also pretty evenly divided when it comes to introverts and extroverts, we could see the humor.  The extrovert bunch love to go and do, they love crowds, and they are energized by being around people.  The introvert bunch loves the moments of solitude (hard to come by in a house our size), intimate moments with close friends, and being energized by quiet reflection and creative endeavors.

Neither are wrong.  Just different from each other.

But, I also came across a passage by theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer this week that carries a warning to both.

Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. He will only do harm to himself and to the community. Alone you stood before God when he called you; alone you had to answer that call; alone you had to struggle and pray; and alone you will die and give an account to God. You cannot escape from yourself; for God has singled you out. If you refuse to be alone you are rejecting Christ’s call to you, and you can have no part in the community of those who are called.  But the reverse is also true. Let him who is not in community beware of being alone.  Into the community you were called, the call was not meant for you alone; in the community of the called you bear your cross, you struggle, you pray. You are not alone, even in death, and on the Last Day you will be only one member of the great congregation of Jesus Christ. If you scorn the fellowship of the brethren, you reject the call of Jesus Christ, and thus your solitude can only be hurtful to you.  We recognize, then, that only as we are within the fellowship can we be alone, and only he that is alone can live in the fellowship. Only in the fellowship do we learn to be rightly alone and only in aloneness do we learn to live rightly in the fellowship.  Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. Let him who is not in community beware of being alone.”       (from Life Together, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

So, like everything else in life, balance is required.  My introverted self needs community to be sharpened.  My extroverted friends need some quiet time to deal with their own hearts.

And we get to live life together...just sometimes in our own rooms.