Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve tried to do everything by myself. There’s a dear little boy that I watch some evenings for friends who’s recently entered that stage of, “I do it!” and, “No, mama. I do it!”
I don’t think I ever really grew out of that stage.
Even when I am hooked to two IV meds and three other machines at once, I still insist that I can do it myself. Even when I don’t feel like I can take one more step from the couch to the kitchen to wash the dishes in the sink, I do it. Partly because there’s no one else to do it for me. But mostly because I can do it all myself.
Or so I like to think.
The truth is, I can’t. I can’t do it all alone. That’s a lesson that God’s had to teach me over and over again, and I’m pretty sure He’s going to have to teach me again.
I need Him, first and foremost.
That’s a given.
But I also need other people.
As much as I’d like to, as self-sufficient as I’d like to be, I can’t do this alone. We were created to be in community with one another. We were created to be loved and to love others. We are called to rejoice with those who rejoice, to mourn with those who mourn, (Romans 12:15) and to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). I get all that. I understand all of that. In fact, I’m someone who will do just about anything for a stranger, but even more so for a friend. When someone needs a pie made for that thing tomorrow, or a babysitter at the last minute, or a piano player for the memorial service, if I am able, I am there to help.
But when I need help, when I can’t get off my couch due to the flu or need a ride to the hospital because I need to go to the ER, I don’t expect anyone to be there for me. Oftentimes, I don’t even tell anyone I could use the help until it’s too late.
Because I don’t want to be a burden.
I don’t want to get in the way.
Because I can do it all myself.
But I can’t. I learned that lesson again last week when I was sick with the flu for nine days. I couldn’t do anything but lay on my couch or in my bed for almost a full week. And so my friends brought me soup. And picked up my medicine for me. And called me, and texted me, asking if I was okay. They prayed for me. And then they brought me some more soup. Because they knew I couldn’t do it on my own. I needed them, and I needed the soup.
The next time I have a friend in physical, spiritual, or emotional need, I’m still going to help if I can. But the next time I really do need soup, or a ride to the hospital, or a shoulder to cry on, I’m calling my friends. Because no man is an island. We’re not meant to live this life alone.
Through trouble, rain, or fire
Let’s reach out for something higher
Eyes open to one another
‘Cause we are not alone.
– Tenth Avenue North, No Man Is An Island