Need … it’s such a scary word, isn’t it? We, as Americans, generally don’t like to admit “need.” We are strong! We are strong, we are resourceful, we are resilient and self-dependent. We pull ourselves up by bootstraps, “get over it,” and conquer the world. We don’t “need” anything.
And yet … what if that weren’t true? Hear me out, because I know the inner entrepreneur alarm bells are sounding right about now. But, if you pause for a moment, you’ll hear that quiet voice in your head whispering there might be a flaw in the lone wolf, rags-to-riches theory. Think about it.
If Americans were so great and self-sufficient,
- Why is online dating a billion dollar industry?
- Why are our clinical depression rates through the roof?
- Why do we spend so much money eating our feelings in ever more extravagant ways — only to spend even more money chasing after the “perfect” figure to win others’ approval?
Just saying. There seems to be something wrong in our grand theory of life, and I’m suggesting it’s a dose of self-aware honesty.
Yes, even for those brilliant entrepreneurs and laptop warriors — we need other people.
The Teacher of Ecclesiastes phrased it perfectly: “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion” (Ecc. 4:9). Solomon also has some oft-quoted Proverbs on the topic, as well — 27:7 “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” and 15:22 “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed.” Those speak more to the practical benefits of friendship, though. And as crucial as those may be, I want to focus more on the emotional for a moment.
Because, really, we do need each other.
Despite what our culture and social mores tell us (those same subconscious urges that pressure us to say “fine” when people ask how we are), we need each other in a deep, real way — a passing “hey how r u” text once every three months isn’t going to cut it. Life is hard, and it will break us spiritually and emotionally.
And as great as it would be if we could make it through by ourselves, letting the rest of the world believe we are still perfect, realistically we just can’t do it — or at least, I can’t. I know I’m broken, and I need help. I need help and encouragement and love from my friends. Sometimes all I need is only to sit in their presence, but even that’s enough, because then I am still warmed by their safety and shelter.
And other times I get lost, and when I do my friends really ARE my way home.
One of my favorite quotes about friendship is also the simplest:
“A friend is someone who knows the melody of your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten.”
So yes, it is trite and cliche and at the same time culturally defying and scary. What if we admit our need and no one is there for us? Will our neighbors think us less for admitting our humanity? But God works in mysterious ways, and He put certain people in our lives for a reason, to teach us and be taught in return — to comfort and be comforted.
Yes, it’s uncomfortable confessing that we need help to another.
But maybe we can start a movement. Maybe we can change the world.
And maybe, just maybe, we can start to fill that hole in our heart with more than Ben & Jerry’s.
About Brett Beeson
Brett Beeson, officially, is an ensign (officer) in the United States Navy, currently attached to DDG54 Curtis Wilbur out of Yokosuka, Japan. She graduated in 2014 from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Arabic and a minor in Spanish. Unofficially, she is the “evil twin” (one of Jory’s twin daughters), that annoying-friend-who-won’t-stop-calling, perpetual questioner, ice cream enthusiast, scribbler, roarer-of-laughter, and eternal student of God’s amazing mysteries. After extensive travel in Morocco and Oman, she has become passionate about furthering her/our understanding of the Middle East and Islam. To enjoy more of Brett’s writing, please visit Randomness with Brett.