MANY years ago, while still a bachelor I was invited to the home of a friend who’d just got married. “But you’re just married!” I said, knowing the evening would be more of drinking and loud talk, “You need to spend time with your wife! I’ll visit you when you both have settled down!”
“I can never give up my friends Bob, they’re as necessary to me as bread to a hungry man!” I went over and found I wasn’t the only one invited, he’d also called his office colleagues, friends, and train buddies and we ended up having a ball! A bachelor ball! “Where’s your wife?” we asked him after a while. “She’s in the bedroom sleeping, said she wasn’t used to male company!”
It didn’t trouble us about what she was used to or not used to and soon his pad became a regular place for our parties with dinner made by his never to be seen wife, laid out for us on the table. One day there was no dinner. “Sorry guys, she left! Said either it was her or you guys!” “So?” we asked, looking at him defiantly.
“I can never give up my friends,” he cried, “But I miss her! What do I do?” Being young we were quite irritated with her for what she’d done, but I thought of her when I read ‘The Mysterious Island’ by Jules Verne: In his novel Verne tells of five men who escape a Civil War prison camp by hijacking a hot air balloon. Slowly, watching their homeland disappear on the horizon, they wonder how much longer the balloon can stay aloft.
As the hours pass, the surface of the ocean draws closer, and the men decide they must lose weight so shoes, overcoats, and weapons are reluctantly discarded, and the balloon rises. But only temporarily. So, they toss out their food. Better to be high and hungry, than drown on a full belly!
This, too, is only a temporary solution, and the craft again threatens to lower the men into the sea. One man has an idea: they can untie the ropes that hold the passenger car and sit on those ropes. Then they can cut away the basket beneath them. As they sever the very thing they’d been standing on, it drops into the ocean, and the balloon rises. Not a minute too soon, they spot land.
They lived, spared because they were able to discern the difference between what really was needed and what was not. The “necessities” they once thought they couldn’t live without were the very weights that almost cost them their lives. In the Holy Scriptures the writer to the Hebrews says, “Let us throw off everything that hinders!” In my friend’s case it was me and his other buddies, what about you?
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