About thirty years ago in Chicago I went to a live concert by Ken Medema, a blind Christian pianist and singer. Ken was in rare form that night, and it hardly mattered that we were crowded into an auxiliary room watching on closed-circuit TV. He did the inimitable "Moses" and I think one or two others of his classics, but for the most part his concert was one long ad lib on the life and miracles of Jesus. In the course of it he kept coming back to this little chorus with doggerel rhyme, that I now half suspect he made up on the spot:
Finding leads to losing;
Losing lets you find.
Living leads to dying;
Life leaves death behind.
Losing leads to finding;
All that I can say.
No one will find life another way.
I lost count of the number of times he went back and sang that in the course of the evening. It is, of course, a paraphrase of the words of Christ: "He that saveth his life shall lose it, but he that loseth his life for my sake and the Gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
The tune has stayed with me all these years, and I can almost hear the guys from the youth group--not a very reverent lot, truth be told--singing it over and over again in the van on the way home.
And somehow, today, I had it going through my head in an entirely different context, a context which may be quite unrelated. (The temptation to blog sometimes has a negative effect on one's logical faculties.) But here is what I thought: The Internet has made it possible for me and for many others to find many friends that we would not otherwise have found--likeminded people, men of integrity whom we respect. Ideological loneliness is a real thing. We Christian conservatives, especially those of us who are traditionally minded, are not in a majority in our country or our world, and so we naturally reach out to allies and new friends, and the Internet has proven a great resource for this purpose. But that finding of friends also means that there are that many more opportunities to lose touch with people. It needn't be a matter of a falling out at all. Someone retires from blogging; a given blog closes down; people become understandably and rightly busy with real life. But just as it is a sad thing to lose touch with an old friend one has known in high school, college, graduate school, in person, it is also a sad thing to contemplate possibly losing touch with a person one has known only on the Internet.
So finding leads to losing. But in the end, whatever happens in cyberspace or physical space, we are not bound to the circles of the world. And in heaven, I think that even those we have never seen, whom we would not now recognize if we passed them on the street or in the store, we will recognize.
So losing leads to finding after all.
Zippy Catholic: Pax