I have really come to appreciate the human need for community, though for many years I was more interested in INdependence. My ego needed to shine and and be shot down for me to learn the value of INTERdependence.
Approximately one year ago my ego was at it biggest. I had learned and suffered through a lot. I felt smart and powerful, so I raged. I was very angry with the people who seemed to me to be at fault for the suffering in our world. So I pointed my finger and placed blame. But inevitably I was put in my place and felt sick from all the anger inside of me. These are the cycles of the ego. And this is a whole other blog! But…
During this period I received an email from a Christian about times when you are filled with worry and fear.
“So, when it comes to waiting, it seems to me that there are two options:
- the first is to give up, give in to the fear, and say, “I simply can’t handle this” or
- you can climb into your cocoon – this is the place of refuge where you realize that God is in control and you put all your trust in Him.”
Background story: a few years before this email, I had ended up at the first option. I was suffering through extreme back pain, being in debt while many others lavished in plenty, and having a self-identity crisis…I had lessons to learn and they were being beaten into me.
Then, one winter eve in Corvallis while recovering from my second bunionectomy I got a tooth ache. This new pain, on top of all the others, was incredible. It brought me to a point where I was so grief stricken I wanted to give up. I literally contemplated suicide. There was so much ugliness and pain in the world and I simply wanted to excuse myself from all of it. But obviously I did not. I could not do anything so sad to my parents, sister, boyfriend, and countless beautiful friends. I stuck it out for the ones who loved me.
Through this very difficult experience I had come to the end and gave in to the fear. I admitted that “I simply can’t handle this”. And it has turned out to be a very beautiful thing. I have learned to need and be part of a community. I have learned to happily give and receive help. I have learned compassion and empathy for myself and ALL others. Some say that the most mature state is interdependence – and I agree.
But it has taken some years to see it this way. Meanwhile, I responded to the above email with anger and frustration. I did not have a God cocoon and it seemed that those who chose this route were weak and hiding from the difficult realities of our world. Life had spanked me and I thought it unfair and unhealthy that some might get to skip the tough experiences by having God to cuddle up with…
But in the end, at my darkest time, I was not alone either. I needed a cocoon and even though I struggled to see it, I had one. I had my community and for this I am so grateful. So, is one better than the other? God or community? In my hard earned opinion they are one 🙂 And we will all inevitably need that cocoon at some point. I just hope that those who do believe in God are not blinded to their need for community and the wisdom of interdependence.