We Depend on Each Other
I confess that I am not very good at asking others for help. I know this is a crucial survival skill, so I am slowly realizing that I am becoming more dependent upon my family and friends. I am a proud man; although I have been supported throughout my life when life has knocked me down, I am still, at least inside me, the young Marine of the 1960s. I understand the basic truisms of life, even though I sometimes reject them.
We are in this life together and depend on each other for things we cannot imagine. Do we drive to work? Who built our cars, or paved the roads? Who grew the chicken for the eggs we eat in the morning? We cannot survive alone.
We must express appreciation for all that occurs in our lives. I thank a person for holding a door open for me. I praise the young, or old, server who brings me my ordered meal, and I reward them generously. I joke with the caring men and women in the hospital, when I am forced to spend a few hours with them. These people, who serve me in my needs, come in all shapes, sizes, genders, and national origins. I look beyond these “differences” to see the person beneath the masks they wear, how much we are alike.
This next has been difficult for me at times, and that is to hold my inner tension to myself, cultivating a giving, or in some instances, a life-giving way that enhances my experience and the people sharing my experience. When I find myself praying with others, for their needs, I know that when this happens, my prayer partner is enhanced by the support shown. I know this because I have been on the receiving end often.
We must also use our voice to affect changes where we see the need. However, we cannot be so obnoxious with our own voice to crush others’ opinions. I have been privileged to sit on many councils that set priorities for those the council leads. This can be from school teacher boards to chambers of commerce to executive church councils. I am presently a member of the vestry in the church that Linda and I attend. These ruling bodies can be very difficult; with my work and educational experience, my abilities range from being an accountant, to operating my own retail business, to being a teacher in both high school and college. In all these situations, I have been blessed by being on some leadership committees. My voice, my opinion, is vital to these boards, but so are those of others. It is a delicate balance when trying to affect change.
All these elements lead to the most important, building and living in a community. Community is one of the basic needs of life. God created us to live together, to work together, to laugh together, to cry together. I have a very good friend from my high school days who has recently become a friend on Facebook. I post a thought-provoking saying daily, and one day this long-ago friend commented on the saying. I replied saying that we cannot forget that all people living on earth are God’s children, Americans, Italians, Mexicans, and Muslims. God loves all his children and we must do the same. I was hesitant in sending this reply, because I did not want to see offensive to this old friend that I have not seen in years. His response was positive, much to my relief. One thing that I have learned in my 75+ years is that all the people I have known, been to school with, taught, shared a meal with, are all my brothers and sisters under God’s love and living in God’s embrace. I love them all; they are family.
I meditate daily; both formally and informally. My meditations allow me to see that God is present in all of us, regardless of who we are, where we come from, what we look like, what church we attend. No one can be left out of God’s grace; we are dependent collectively for each other’s’ well-being. I must care for all of us, as God does.