No matter how much we deny it, we need each other. Life is too chaotic to attempt it in isolation. No person is wired to navigate the certain uncertainties of life without intentional and compassionate souls around us, unwilling to see us stay down long when the hits inevitably come. The strongest of the strong is one simple stumble from falling into an unscalable pit. When, and not if, we fall, we need people willing to get themselves dirty and sore to help us rise again.
Every family has memories that are often repeated. One present in my parents’ mental library is a phrase my sister often repeated in her earliest years. Struggling to reach something her height would not allow or pick up an item that her muscles were not yet equipped to hoist, they would offer her assistance. Like many other children like her, she insistently strained harder and gave out the adolescent warcry of independence: “I can do it by me-self.”
She tried. And I did a few years behind her. Like all other children fighting to transcend those unfortunate youthful limitations, we rarely mature past that sentiment either as we age. The older and more experienced we get, the more often we unsuccessfully attempt to prove that we are capable of whatever the challenging task is that lies before us.
In our attempts to do life by ourselves, we hurt ourselves, endanger others, and break things around us. Stumbling through life, we are determined to prove something of which we are unable. In our reluctance to admit our weakness, we reveal even more. It’s worse than we ever imagined. Not only are we incapable of achieving our goals, but now we have created more horrific messes that we can’t clean up. But to ask for assistance means we call others’ attention to our inabilities. We would instead work ourselves to death than put our incapacities and insecurities out there for the world to see.
The Bible describes God as creating the heavens and the earth with His words. When He formed the first person, He used His hands (Gen. 2:7). While this creation is the only one made in God’s image (Gen. 1:27), Mankind is the only category that Scripture doesn’t record as God references as “good.” All other days were filled with good creations, and God does affirm the entirety as good (Gen. 1:31). Still, the text seeks to grab our attention in a shocking way when God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18). Before sin ever stained the ground, God saw Adam as incomplete because he was alone even walking beside God Himself.
God’s comment reveals that the only people ever brought into the world untainted by human sin weren’t good. They were alone. They needed each other. Within the first human relationship, God creates the beautiful gift of marriage while also harkening to our need for community. Life is not meant to be lived alone. When God’s enemy interrupts paradise’s activity, Adam and Eve sin, but the fallout is extremely revealing. They hide from each other in shame. They try to excuse their activity by blaming others for their actions. Sin ushers in the decimation of the community they so desperately needed. And it does ours as well.
I know you are overwhelmed in this world right now. I know people have let you down. I know your trust issues grow by the year, but that doesn’t mean that you can make it in isolation.
Like it or not, we need each other.