How David Dealt with Loneliness.
First of all, just to be clear, I am a "man!" And as a man I've been told, I have problems, like expressing what's on my heart, I've have problems expressing my feelings, makes me feel kind of naked like the sculpture above. But ok now, ahem, pause, well here goes, I have problems admitting that I've been lonely basically all my life!
There I said it!
OK that sounds terrible! Let me qualify that a bit, I've been lonely in the area of having "close" or "Intimate," which is a scary word but just means wholesome close, adult male friends, almost all my life! Ok that's better.
I had male friends as a youngster and in high-school but after that it trailed off, we all went our separate ways and have only connected when we happened to meet here and there incidentally in the course of life. Other than that it gets complicated because as an adult I've had an eclectic range of jobs where acquaintances couldn't easily cross over to continue the relationship with me. For example me moving from a Milkman job in Calgary to Pasturing a church in N. Battleford, SK would not cause potential friends to move all that way to be with me to continue growing a friendship.
To complicate things there is also my artistic side, which is another uniquely different occupational sphere of work, that together with my faith interest brings in another list of complicated factors in not having intimate male friendships.
Today, as i'm writing this I am realizing that this is actually slowly changing. Because now that I'm established in one location, like Winnipeg, plus having attended one church for a length of time, and now having become a pastor in another new church, that is beginning to change!
So just over 10 years after our daughter was murdered I began to became more and more angry! My "forgiveness" seemingly had leaked slowly away, it was 1995 and I had no friend(s) to work this through with! Also, I have to say I kind of felt good being angry. I deserved to be angrly. I'd experienced a great loss, I should be angry, real angry! But then it began to express itself in rage. When that happened I knew I had to fix it or I would lose what was most dear to me, my wife, family and my job. What should I do? How should I deal with this and get rid of these bursts of rage?
David was a teenager when he became a shepherd. Teenagers (according to statistics) is one of the age groups that experience loneliness the most. They are not children nor adults and so are caught off guard when it strikes! Where do they go with this is the question! Typically, they will go to their peers for acceptance and approval. And, when that fails it gets really bad. Davids story as a teenager is a wonderful testimony as to how he dealt in a very successful way with his loneliness.
David was the youngest of eight boys in the family. (He also had two sisters) Being the youngest he got a job no one else wanted and so from the earliest age and moment possible, his brothers dumped this shepherding job on him. And so at a very young age he became the family's official shepherd of their small flock of sheep, like it or not.
When we look at 1 Samuel 16-18 there is just no way to romanticize this experience thinking it was all fun, easy and safe. In our day and in our country this would be called child labor and against the law. To put it bluntly, his brothers were eager to go on to any other number of jobs like joining Saul's army, hunting or tanning sheep hide for clothing etc. The older siblings had the power, hated that job and forced him out there into the wilderness with those smelly sheep as soon as they could. The job itself would be no simple task as David was literally living out in outdoors year round. He had to move his flock to water and good grass every day regardless of the weather. He had to protect them from wild animals and also nurse them preventing the affects of bugs and diseases. Then he also had to take care of his own needs for clothing in all seasons, his own meals, his own personal toiletries aches and pains. Safety for him at night was sleeping with the sheep in their sheepfold. It was hard, lonely, dangerous and monotonous, a serious challenge for any adult much less a teenage boy.
This passage also indicates that he was overlooked, ignored and disliked by his family. He was often left out of family gatherings and could only dream of what he might be missing as he looked longingly at the home-stead fires from the distance of the hillsides. Even when special events were planned he was ignored and left literally out in the cold. He was unrecognized for his achievements and and left alone most of the time.
For example, when the most popular and famous prophet of the day, Samuel came to visit their household, which had never happened before, nor ever expected to happen again, all the family, meaning all his brothers, except David, were invited to be there to welcome him. This was when Samuel had been asked by God to anoint the next king of Israel. It was very exciting as someone very special, someone known as a man after God's own heart would be chosen to be the next king. And he David was not there. And after a while to everyone's disappointment, none of his brothers were chosen, meaning that none of them were that person. So everyone wondered who else it could it be?
Had the prophet gone to the wrong house? Had he read his texts and emails from God wrongly? What was going on? Was there someone missing? Is there someone they're hiding? Like do you folks have another son somewhere? What's wrong with this family?
"Oh right, actually we do have another son, see, he's out there iwth the sheep." Say's Jesse David's father, but in his head he's saying, "But we all know he's not the one anyways!"
"Well you better find him and get him here cause we're not sitting down till I see him, thank you very much!" declared the confused but determined prophet Samuel!"
Now it's clear that David was experiencing loneliness, spending all that time alone on the hillsides of Judea. So he to had to deal with it. He could have responded like I had done, in anger against his family, parents, brothers, and his God. No one would have blamed him, he had gotten a raw deal and it was not right. What kind of father was Jesse anyways, allowing this to come about, did he not have control of his own sons? How could he allow those seven sons of his, bully David like that? It was an outrageous injustice to say the least!
Next we will get into who David really was. There is a murky past we need to know. It will clarify those family dynamics he's experiencing.
you have chosen the side of the oppressor!"