Updated: May 31, 2021
When I was 12 we moved from our little, brown house into a neighborhood with a double cul-de-sac road that had no thru traffic. My parents have since told me that a large part of their decision to move was based on my safety. Less traffic meant less scares of their daughter being hit by a car.
I didn’t know any of this. All I knew was that this really cool girl from my school lived a few houses down from us.
She taught me how to put on make-up, what jeans were the most popular and how to be adventurous. We rode our bikes everywhere, went creek wading in the woods, had sleepovers and did whatever most girls our age were doing. She was popular, pretty, smart, and fiercely independent. And she walked with a pronounced limp due to Cerebral Palsy. We were quite the pair even though we didn’t know it at the time. I don’t think we talked a lot about helping each other but -we sure did a lot of it! There were many things she could do that I could not. There may have been a few things I could do that she could not - but I know it wasn’t 50|50. This helper/helpee friendship was, at times, one of mutual interdependence.
I have this memory that I will never forget. She and I were in our high-school auditorium for a choir rehearsal and it was dark. They had roped off the section we were all assigned to sit in - then we were all asked to come to the stage. It was dark and our aisle was roped off. Do you get the picture? I don’t know if we made a plan or if it came natural. She told me how far to come down the row and showed me with her hands where the rope was. I went first over the rope, then I reached out with my hands, which gave her the stability she needed to climb over the thigh high rope.
My last blog was about Depending on God. But what about depending on people?
In a culture that both craves and esteems independence, is there room for genuine interdependence?
I suppose, if we were to follow the path of ‘complete independence’ to its end, it would mean; needing to be the best, the smartest, the strongest, the most able, and the most qualified.
It would mean to never be unable and ultimately, to not need anyone.
But I don’t think this is what we really want! And the great social experiment called Facebook, along with other social media platforms, has proven that! At some level we want to know and be known by others. And if I may, I believe we want more than Facebook offers. I think we, along with our world, want genuine, real time relationships.- maybe more than ever before!
Sometimes we need the help of a crutch, and or a cane, that someone, or some someones, to trust, to lean on, to help us see the way forward.
But I wonder, is there a place for this kind of shared vulnerability, shared weakness - even shared suffering?
I think there is!
I think sharing our stuff - our joys and our successes, as well as our pain, our loss and even our mistakes - brings relief somehow.
So why do I, we, make others think that we are fine when we’re not?
For me, the root of this is pride. Or maybe it is a trust issue.
Now, I’m not suggesting we become whiners, always complaining. Neither am I saying we should share everything with everyone.
These kind of relationships can be scary. Can we risk it?
Will you offer yourself as a crutch (someone to lean on) as a trusted confidant, as a listener willing to take time to hear and feel the stuff of others?
Or on the flip side - Will you let others be a cane for you (letting someone that has perhaps traveled this road before you) show you the next steps?
As helpers and helpees will we risk letting others see our struggle, our inabilities, imperfections and our weakness?
Can we reach out our hands to show someone the way in the dark? Can we let someone give us their hands to bring us stability when we are weak or just can’t climb over that ‘rope’ alone?
Care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25)
Carry one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2)
Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
Be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32)
Consider others better than yourselves (Philippians 2:3)
Look to the interests of one another (Philippians 2:4)
Comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
Encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Lord, thank you for the idea of interdependence. Somehow you knew, from the beginning, that we would need others and others would need us. Give us wisdom and a willing heart to take the risk and the time to share our life with others. For your sake and our benefit, show us how to, in real time, carry the burdens of others. Help us to see this kind of care, as your call to us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen