Saturday, August 29, 2009

FLYING SOLO


The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone..." (Genesis 2:18)

In recent years, the fairly modern myth of one being able to do it all, be it all, have it all and accomplish it all on their own has begun to crumble. Especially as the economy has begun to implode, even the most self-assured, self-motivated individuals realize that none of us lives in a vacuum. For far too many years the enormous pressure on mothers to work full-time, keep a perfect home and raise well-adjusted children forced parents to put on the facade of normalcy while suffering in silence. Add to that pressure the challenge of parenting a child with a special need, and it's a wonder that the mental health facilities aren't bursting at the seams! Even so, some parents still automatically answer, "No, we don't need anything. We're just fine," when others offer to help. This is a grave mistake on a number of different levels.

First and foremost, God has told us this is "not good". Functioning alone is not His intent for our lives. He built us for interaction with both Himself and other humans. If you look through the Bible, you will see how many times God has stated how we are to relate to "one another". In taking a peek at just 60 of these numerous passages, we discover that we are to be at peace and live in harmony with one another; look out for one another; share with and be mutually dependent on one another; love and honor one another; admonish, counsel and instruct one another; comfort, encourage and edify one another. If you included the commands on how we're not supposed to treat one another, the list could be lengthier still.

Second, when we refuse help from others, we rob them of the blessings promised by God to those who offer compassion. How rarely we see ourselves as a benefit rather than a burden to others! Before you turn someone away, think of how you feel when you know you've made a difference in the life of another in need.

We all know that in the male psyche, there is a natural instinct to want to "fix things". However, this is not even what is called for in our relationships. As one dear hospital chaplain put it to me, it is "the ministry of presence" that is such a gift to others. That fellowship with one another, sharing conversation, just know someone else understands our frame of reference without having to explain it all, is an immense comfort.

What do we do if we need this kind of help from others and are not finding it? It's not always easy, but we must find the courage and strength to speak up. People are not mind-readers, and they really can't grasp our need if they haven't walked a mile in our shoes. I always joke with others when they say, "Call me if you need anything."
"Don't say that unless you mean it," I warn, "because I will call you!"

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