So, I’m going to make a pretty big confession here. I’m a recovering “Trekky”(or Star Trek fan, for those of you too cool to know such things). I hesitate to say this because I know what immediately jumped into your minds – the freaky, geeked-out dudes in costumes arguing whether Geordi was a better engineer than Scotty or if he just had an unfair advantage because his warp core was more advanced (which is true, by the way). Anyway, I hate to ruin the amusing pictures floating through your imagination right now, but I never did wear any costumes or alien make-up. I never held a rank on an imaginary starship. And I never visited an internet chat room (wow, how old school does that sound) arguing about the discrepancies in the plot lines of episode 243 and 314. I was just one the run-of-the-mill, plain clothes at the Sci-Fi convention, guys that just enjoyed the show and thought it would be cool to meet a TV/Movie Star in person. At least, that’s how it started. But after you go into one of those conventions you start to feel strange urges to purchase toys at outrageous prices and start collecting posters, models, pictures and books telling you all the details about things that don’t really exist. And that’s before you even get to the Star Wars stuff.
It was quite an odd time in my life. And truthfully, as soon as I stopped hanging out with the guys that I used to go to these things with, I never felt a desire to go again. I really didn’t even watch the show that much after that. I haven’t seen any of the ridiculous spin-off series that emerged and died over the past 10 years. (Wasn’t there one with Scott Bakula?) As it turns out, I apparently wasn’t much of a Star Trek fan after all. I guess I was really more of a fan of belonging to something.
It was definitely a quirky community, but it was a community. It welcomed you with open arms and gave you things to celebrate together, discuss together, and even things to mourn over together. It was a place to belong, even if, like me, you didn’t want anybody to know you belonged there. There were some people who were so immersed in the community that it was hard to tell where the imaginary world stopped and the real world began. There were entire fleets of starship crews that networked together and met regularly (in full uniform, I might add) to play out scenarios in their own little universe.
It’s crazy the things we’ll do to experience a sense of community. It’s like we were made to experience life together and not alone. Hmmm. Maybe that’s because we were. The God who created us has always existed in community. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit have lived in perfect unity, love and joy before and throughout all of time. And when God made us in His image, we had it hard-wired into us to need each other. We can’t do life in isolation. It does weird things to us. I find it hard to believe that, while isolation is a punishment reserved for the worst of criminals, we still choose it for ourselves sometimes. And we suffer because of those choices. It turns us further and further inward, making us more and more self-consumed and taking us farther and farther from who God made us to be.
So, the next time you find yourself withdrawing from community, ask yourself, “Where am I withdrawing to?” Because you can’t live without other people and you’ll find conflict and difficulties in every group that has people in it. So, you may just want to save yourself the hassle and just deal with whatever it is that’s bothering you, instead of running from it.
And well, if you absolutely can’t go back, there’s always the Star Trek people. I can assure that they will welcome you… but you may have to invest in some new clothes.