Since I began yesterday's entry by mentioning a movie, I did not want to begin writing about another movie today however I must. Last night as I was randomly surfing the channels with the remote, I came across the movie Castaway that was being shown on T.V. for about the one thousandth time. It has been shown so often that as soon as I stumbled upon it, I immediately began to click to something else until that is ....I saw Wilson. Wilson is my favorite actor of that movie me, he is the shining star of the film. Upon reading that many of you will say "Wilson? Why Wilson wasn't an actor- he was merely a volleyball with the image of a face drawn on it " Really? I suppose that technically that is correct but here is a genuinely raw reason why Wilson meant so much to Tom Hanks and why he spoke so loudly to me. He was there by the side of a man who was scared and alone. He was loyal and never critical. He was a constant companion. His smile never left his face. He never discouraged or discredited the man who was trying to survive. He soothed, he comforted, he gave hope. No wonder that Tom Hanks was literally filled with panic and fear when he awoke on that raft and saw that his friend was no longer perched next to him but had blown off into the sea. What a powerful image it sent to the viewer to see a human, a grown man crying out for his friend as he swam after him desperately trying to reach him in that ocean..and yet the truth is, in reality "Wilson" was an inanimate object, a volleyball. The concept of Wilson resonated with audiences everywhere for one basic reason- that we all recognize the deep inner need for all of us to not be alone, we just don't all realize that God is the one who put that need, that yearning inside of us. I am not speaking about marriage per se; because it is clear that it may be in God's providential plan for some to not marry and also, some may lose their spouse at different points in life, which by the way, is a very dificult and traumatic time for those folks. I am referring to the basic human need in all of us to feel connected, that we belong , that we are attached to someone or some group , that we are known, that we are noticed, that we mean something to at least one other person. Sadly, many folks in today's society of anonymity and isolation are not having these basic human needs met which quite frankly is the driving force behind much of the depression and despair that is so prevalent today. Folks are feeling detached and disconnected. I remember well a hit T.V. show from when I was much younger, some twenty years ago. The show's name was "Cheers" and it centered around a bar in Boston in which the patrons stopped in each day. As the various characters came walking through the doors of the bar from out on the street, the rest of the crowd would yell their name as they came striding in. Even the theme song of the show had a catchy tune that I vividly remember to this day humming and singing along to and the most prominent lyrics of the song were "Where everybody knows your name" The show had great writers so the humor was sharp, witty, and original and at the time, it made most viewers smile, feel sort of warm and fuzzy inside as if everyone in the bar was one huge close happy family and make no mistake about it, that was it's appeal. The sad irony of that show however is that the camaraderie , the connections, the friendships on that show that the characters seemingly enjoyed were a counterfeit for the real fellowship that God has always intended for us to have and enjoy with one another as we go through this life. We simply need others to talk to, to laugh with, to bounce ideas off of, to share stories with, to like us, to love us, just to KNOW us. Why do you think the social networks of MySpace, Facebook, Ringo etc are so popular? Those sites simply exploded in growth because of this very issue. What I am talking about here is no new revelation to just about anyone reading right now. I realize that I am not exposing some new hidden truth about human nature. What I do desire my readers to consider however is where are you looking for those connections in your own life? Is it in some kind of social group, some sports organization perhaps a local bar or club where you see the same faces on a regular basis? Those connections can be and are enjoyable and meet one's needs to a certain depth but may I make a suggestion? Search for true fellowship in and with a group of folks who claim to know God in a real way- a church, perhaps a Bible study that you have heard of, a neighbor who you know to be a Christian. This might feel uncomfortable and very different for you to try but folks who know and care about things having to do with God and things of a spiritual nature truly have the answer to the meaning of why we are all here to begin with and what we have either to look forward to or to dread once we exit this life that we are living. To Christians reading this, I implore you as well as myself to always be aware of others who need to connect..who just need another soul to notice them, to know them. Two days ago I ran into a guy who works at the 7-11 right near my home. I see him often in there and yet I saw him also working at another business the day before yesterday. I was surprised to see him there because he already seems to be working a ridiculous number of hours at the 7-11. When I said to him " Oh, you work here also? "  he replied in broken english " Yes, I don't have any family so I fill up my time working alot ". I just stared at him for a second as I thought of my huge wonderful family that I am constantly surrounded by and at that moment God pricked my conscience. I invited him to come to my church and he said that he would come but you know, that is a "safe" invitation. What I mean by that is it really doesn't put me out or inconvenience me at all to invite him to church. But am I willing to invite this guy who has no family to our home? As one who knows Christ, I certainly should be. I have purposed to do so the next time that I see him but the truth is , I have to make an effort to do that. You see, I naturally do not care about this guy because I do not know him . Yet, God put him in my path for a reason, I just need to believe that and care enough to follow through and that really is the crux of the problem, isn't it? Just caring,  just being there for people. Wilson was.....Wilson had it figured out...he ministered to his friend just because he was there; and because he was, he was missed and grieved over. Can we actually learn something from a face painted volleyball?  I believe we can. Dare to be a Wilson, won't you?