"You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes."
-- A. A. Milne
We weren't made to walk alone. From the very beginning of it all we were made to walk in companionship. In God's perfect kindness He gave us "people with skin on" to link arms with as we venture through our day to day. He gave us a taste of heaven on earth, a piece of Himself -- the company of people who love Him, who love us, and who want to live this life well, with steadfast hope for the next.
There isn't one of us who doesn't crave that company and who doesn't have it waiting for us, but sometimes it takes us looking up and remembering we don't have to solo flight our days. Sometimes it takes us saying, "it's hard." Sometimes it takes us writing the email, sending the text, making the phone call, scheduling the coffee date, preparing the dinner. Sometimes it takes us leaving our corner of the Forest, going to them, holding out a hand, and saying, "Will you walk with me?"
We weren't made to walk alone, but sometimes we let ourselves sit alone for way too long. We sit alone with a mind full of things that aren't true. We tell ourselves that we shouldn't bother anybody with our struggles. We battle the fear that no one else will be able to understand the large chunks and little pieces of what we are walking through. And we just let the enemy keep feeding us those lies as we begin to feel the loneliness build up more and more.
Junk junk junk junk junk. We were not made to walk alone.
As we have walked the hardest days of parenting we've ever faced these last few weeks, the hands that have grasped hold of our open, asking ones have been many, and they are holding tight, let me tell you. With inquiring texts, emails, and Instagram messages, with dinners delivered and date nights offered, with words of "I don't know fully what to say, but just know I'm here", with prayers that have flowed like a torrential downpour, with bear hugs and ears that truly want to hear, with so many things my weary self has seen in an even greater way that we were not made to walk alone and it is so much better when we don't try to.
It's been hard for me, for us, to say, "this is hard," and to lay our vulnerable, weary hearts out to others; but every single time we have we've been so glad we did. We were made to live authentic, real, sin-bearing, forgiveness-seeking, growing, in-each-others-homes, grace-filled lives. We were made to long for community and to live in it and there's not going to be any depth if we don't lay those vulnerable, weary hearts of ours out there. If we don't share the highest joys and the deepest sorrows and all the in-betweens, our relationships are going to sit in the very shallow end of the baby pool, and that's not how our good Father intended it.
He said "iron sharpens iron" and "he who walks with the wise grows wise" and "love one another" and "rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep" and a whole load of other things that can assure us that shallow is not what we want to aim for. But to trudge into deeper waters we might have to leave that corner and walk out, with boldness and trust, knowing that we are seeking to do the very thing we were intended to.
And I guarantee you that if you push "send" on that text, if you grab that hand, if you start that conversation, you are going to have a piece in helping your people be defined even more by a really beautiful, truth-filled, hopeful way to live with one another, because the Lord is kind to use us.
In all these past days, in all the tears and the pure exhaustion, in that "I don't know what to do" moments (which have been many) and in the moments that have been a bit more clarifying, I have been very aware of the fact that we have person after person standing right next to us, holding up our arms, layering prayer upon prayer for us, loving us and our Little in the sweetest ways. And I have grown more firmly assured of the fact that It's so much better this way.