A few months ago a personal hero, Jamie Tworkowski (from To Write Love On Her Arms), wrote a blog post entitled, “People Need Other People”. His post helped to clarify an idea I’ve been mulling over for a long time. The idea of dependency, of belonging. This idea: it’s terrifying and it’s sketchy and it’s beautiful. I stole his title.
As many of you might know, I’m currently studying to obtain my Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Liberty University. (I should note that this is the primary reason for the infrequency of my posting to this blog.) As part of a recent project, I was asked to write a paper asserting my personal theory about counseling. I was excited for this project, because it was the first opportunity I’d had not just to evaluate my own beliefs, but to articulate them.
Believe it or not, the previous two paragraphs are, indeed, related. You see, I came to realize that, for me, the whole premise for the helping professions revolves around a very simple fact.
You and I were made for relationships.
Let me issue a disclaimer here: I adhere to a Biblical worldview that assumes a great Creator. As such, I also believe the scriptural account of God creating man in His image. (See Genesis 1:27.) This image of God, or Imago Dei, doesn’t just help to shape us – it defines areas of our very personalities. As an image-bearer of their Creator, every individual carries an inherent need for relationship – both with fellow humans and with their Creator.
The realization of this need for relationship with others is evident very early in human history. In Genesis 2:18, which reads, “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a help meet for him” (KJV) we can see that our Creator saw it best that we do life with other people. I don’t think this need for relationship is limited to marriage. I think we need other people. Period.
It’s not good to be alone. It’s not good to be lonely.
We can also see that our Creator desired relationship with us. An example can be found in Genesis Chapter 3. After the account of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit, Scripture says, “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:8-9, KJV). Nothing in this account implies that this was the first time that the Lord communicated with Adam and Eve, in fact, the opposite is true. The fact that Adam and Eve knew the sound of the Lord walking in garden supports the idea that this was a regular occurrence – one that was interrupted by their sin. I believe that these inherited traits, the desire for relationship and the brokenness of sin, have a greater impact on the individual than any of the other components of human personality.
What’s incredible is that the Creator understood the impact of humanity’s shortcomings and, rather than requiring that we become good enough, whole enough to have relationship with Him again, He sent His Son, Jesus, to do that for us.
Jesus did the dirty work of grace; and restored us to a place where we can have a relationship with our Creator.
That’s heavy. That’s real. And, it sets the stage for our responsibilities to one another. I guess what I’m saying is, like Mr. Tworkowski so eloquently put it, “People need other people”. We’re in this thing together. We all experience the wonder and terror of this human condition. And, we need each other. We can’t do it on our own. Sure, we might need some ‘alone time’ every now and then, and I’m not saying that we should sacrifice our own identity for the identity of the community. But, what I am saying is that we can’t get so caught up in our own stuff that we forget that other people have done this before. Other people feel the way we feel. Other people have felt the way you feel, and they’re still here. It’s okay to need other people. It’s the way we were built. We were never intended to do life alone. It’s not good for man to be alone. It’s okay to ask for help, for a hug, to talk to somebody. It’s okay. We’re in this thing together.
Maybe you’re not the one that feels like they need somebody else right now. Maybe you feel good today. Maybe life doesn’t seem hard right now. That’s okay too. It’s okay to feel good. It’s not okay, however, to forget about the rest of your community. Now it’s your turn to hug somebody. Now it’s your turn to listen. Now it’s your turn to pray for someone who just can’t seem to get the right words to come out. It’s your turn to help. It’s your turn to assume the role of a broken healer.
When you think about it, life is about shared experiences.
When we’re experiencing pain, that pain becomes more bearable when we have folks around us to help shoulder the weight. When we realize that we’re not alone in our brokenness something beautiful happens, healing begins to take place. And, when we’re experiencing joy, that joy multiplies as we share it with those around us. Thoughts and ideas are good, but conversations grow us! Exchange stretches us. Sharing doesn’t limit our experiences; it frees us to experience them to the fullest. So, don’t do life on your own. People need other people. It’s okay. It’s meant to be this way.
How are you doing life with other people? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Join the conversation by commenting below.