ALL BY MYSELF (Don’t Want to Be…)Fr. Barnabas Powell
Christ is risen!
“All by myself, don’t want to be all by myself anymore…” So sang Eric Carmen in 1975. The song was loosely based on the second movement of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor. It tells the story of a young man all alone as he is stood up at the altar on his wedding day. It grips with telling power the sadness of being alone.
And this is something humanity regularly fights against. But there is another fear that humanity also fights and that is the fear of being discovered.
So, we’re afraid of being alone and we’re afraid of being known. Sounds like a perpetual prison of competing fears.
In today’s Gospel lesson given to us to prepare us for this Sunday’s Samaritan Woman Sunday, the Lord confronts the religious leaders of His day (seems like He’s always doing that) and He says to them: “You know neither me nor my Father; if you knew me, you would know my Father also.” (See St. John 8:12-20)
The remedy for both the fear of loneliness and the fear of being discovered is to understand why we fear these two realities. We fear being alone because we were created in the image of Him Who knows Himself as Persons in Communion. We were made to be known and to know others. As Metropolitan Zizioulas says in his wonderful book “Being as Communion” we can only know ourselves in the face of another.
And we fear being discovered and known because, like our first parents in the Garden of Eden when they ate and discovered they were naked, we hide our weaknesses in fear of being rejected because of our weaknesses. This fear of being truly known by another sets up all kinds of defense mechanisms in our behaviors, and keeps others away from us. We say within our hearts “If they see me for who I really am, they will not love me.” So, we hide. We hide from our friends and family. We hide from our co-workers. We hide from ourselves. And we try to hide from God, but that is futile. He, alone, knows our true selves, and loves us.
The religious leaders of the Lord’s day failed to see Christ for Who He is precisely because they were not intimately acquainted with His Father. If they had known the Father, they would have immediately recognized the “family resemblance” in Jesus. But they, like us, spent most of their energy hiding from God and each other.
Today, do you fear being alone? Do you fear being discovered for who you really are? Now do you see both these fears are horrible tricks of the evil one to leave you in a never-ending prison of fear?
Sunday, the Woman at the Well, a Samaritan woman, will risk being discovered in her encounter with Christ. She will risk hearing about “everything” she had ever done, all in an encounter with Christ that remedies her fear of being alone and her fear of being known by another.
Today, will you take that same risk and meet Christ at the well of your heart? Allow Him Who knows you better than you even know yourself to show you the way out of the fear of loneliness and the fear of discovery. You were made for communion, my dearest. You were made to be free from fear.