One story that stuck out to me was about a buffalo that was killed by a hunter after wandering away from its herd, which the speaker used as a metaphor for the church.
A quick Google search on my part turned up a news article about a bison that was shot by a state official in Montana several months ago. In that instance, the animal had wandered beyond a buffer zone outside Yellowstone National Park.
The law allows for renegade bison to be killed because they might harm people and property or even return to the park and bring others along on their next excursion.
The message here seems pretty clear — meandering through life solo is dangerous.
But striking out on one’s own sometimes makes a lot more sense than putting up with all the drama going on in the herds of church, work, friends and family.
People are nice to have around at first, but over time they become pesky.
They’re needy. They’re nosy. They whine. They lie to you and themselves.
They’re also prone to leave before you’re ready to see them go.
I don’t do well in herds. At one time, I would have applauded the lone buffalo.
However, I now recognize there are some pitfalls to that kind of life.
My frame of reference would be limited to my own experiences.
My opinions would go unchallenged and be the weaker for it. It might be nice to always feel right, but it wouldn’t be the truth.
I wouldn’t have to be accountable for my actions or step outside my comfort zone.
In short, there wouldn’t be anyone around to call me out when needed.
Isolation would also lead me to believe that I was the only one who has ever walked this way, felt this way, thought this way.
Sometimes all the headache and heartache we cause each other as imperfect human beings is worth it when we hear just one person say, “I understand completely.”
I have determined that I’m a pack kind of person. I tend to surround myself with a small group of people who are worth the inconvenience of committing to a relationship.
What they lack in number, they more than make up for in quirks. That’s why when I lose one, it’s impossible to seek a replacement.
I have learned to journey on until someone else just the right balance of crazy and cool comes along.
I have ceased trying to find an exact logic in why some people come alongside us at certain points in our lives and then part ways with us at seemingly random points down the road.
In my experience, each member of the pack I run with at any given time is incomplete in some way.
Without even realizing it, we hook up because we have things to teach each other. When our walk together comes to an end, often all we are left with are the investments they made in our lives and vice versa.
I recently received this piece of advice: “Just be you. Some people will like you. Some will hate you. A few will love you. Stick close to that last group.”
I find comfort in that lately.
Be it ever so wacky, my pack is my own.