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Does Anybody Really Care?

How often do you have the feeling that what you do is not important?  How many times have you thought to yourself that if you failed to show up at work for several days, no one would really miss you or need the service you provide on your job?  When is the last time you had a real need to talk to someone about a matter and felt that there was no one close enough to you for your present your problem?

The sense of isolation, loneliness, failure, and solitude is very real.  It is not that we lack connectivity through various levels of society.  Rather, it is that we have many superficial connections but not many true friends that are close enough for us to be transparent.

The job that you have may be one of those that is done primarily in solitude.  Your family may be pulled in so many directions that time with them in meaningful conversations is more the exception than the rule.  It is possible that you go to church, but never get into a small group, a ministry to serve, or any other group to allow you to make friends.  The result may be that one feels cut off.  However, most of the time, we are much more important to folks and what we do is much more valued than we ever considered.  I love this illustration by Chuck Swindoll about a man who believed that “no one knew or cared”….

On May 24, 1965, a thirteen-and-a half-foot boat quietly slipped out of the marina at Falmouth, Massachusetts, for Falmouth, England. It would be the smallest craft ever to make the voyage. Its name? Tinkerbelle. It’s pilot? Robert Manry, a copy editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who felt ten years at the desk was enough boredom for a while, so he took a leave of absence to fulfill his secret dream.

“Manry was afraid, not of the ocean, but of all those people who would try to talk him out of the trip. So, he didn’t share it with many, just some relatives and especially his wife, Virginia. She was his greatest source of support.

“The trip? Anything but pleasant. He spent sleepless nights trying to cross shipping lanes without getting run down and sunk. Weeks at sea caused his food to become tasteless. Loneliness, that age-old monster of the deep, led to terrifying hallucinations. His rudder broke three times. Storms swept him overboard, and had it not been for the rope he had knotted around his waist, he would never have been able to pull himself back on board. Finally, after seventy-eight days alone at sea, he sailed into Falmouth, England.

“During those nights at the tiller, he had fantasized about what he would do once he arrived. He expected simply to check into a hotel, eat dinner alone, then the next morning see if, perhaps, the Associated Press might be interested in his story. Was he in for a surprise!

“Word of his approach had spread far and wide. To his amazement, three hundred vessels, with horns blasting, escorted Tinkerbelle into port. Forty thousand people stood screaming and cheering him to shore. Robert Manry, copy editor turned dreamer, became an overnight hero.

“His story has been told around the world. But Robert couldn’t have done it alone. Standing on the dock was an even greater hero: Virginia. Refusing to be rigid when Robert’s dream was taking shape, she allowed him freedom to pursue his dream[Charles R. Swindoll in Leadership, Vol. 8, no. 4.].