C.S. Lewis freedom

The Days When We Need Other People

6:00:00 AMEvelyn Hildebrand

Independence is intoxicating.  

I remember my first night out freshman year when I realized that I could stay out as late as I wanted and no one would say anything.  I had no curfew.  I had no one to report to when I went back to my room.  My roommate would be asleep.  That moment was an adrenaline rush, an independence high, exhilarating.

These days, independence is quite the coveted quality.   After I graduate, I want to have a job so that I can support myself. I want to live in a strange city and learn to float along by myself and find my own niche.  I want to see the big, old, beautiful world and breathe freedom and subway smoke on the way to work.  I don't know how realistic that is, but that's the idea.

Woman against the world.

But sometimes, you need people.  

Cities are sad places because day after day, the same people sit next to each other on the same subway and never see each other.  The sightlessness is not spiteful.  I think it is because successful people are always so put together.  So organized.  So with it.  So on top of everything.  There's no need for me to listen, to pay attention, even to look at you because you've got your life together too.  You're intimidating.  And so am I.  The unspoken code of the city is success: be put together, hold on to everything, balance everything and be everything all the time.

Needing someone and being humble enough to say "I need you" is hard.  That vulnerability splits your chest.  Your heart is immediately on your sleeve, ready to be stomped on. The scariest part of wearing your heart on your sleeve is that its broken.

Always.

We would all be okay with wearing a shiny, perfect, heart for the world to see, but a dirty, crunched or throbbing heart? Not so much.  That kind of vulnerability is humbling because it writes I-am-not-perfect right across your forehead in big red letters.  A scarlet b - Broken.

I like being the one who loves.  I like doing the taking care of.  I like being the friend who gets to hold a friend as she cries, drying her tears, stroking her hair, holding her tightly, weeping with her.  I love being needed by other people.  I love holding the pieces of another person's heart in my hands, gently, quietly, wordlessly.

I like being the one who loves.

But for another person to come to me asking for comfort requires their humility.  That coming requires admitting some tough truths.  I need someone else, I am not completely independent, I cannot do everything all by myself.  But this coming is itself a kind of love.  This brokenhearted love gives me the chance to be the one who loves.

Lewis says our relationship with God is by and large "one vast need; incomplete, preparatory, empty yet cluttered, crying out for Him who can untie things that are now knotted together and tie up things that are still dangling loose." (1)

So with other people, we need them.   Not out of selfishness, but because man was made for community.  "no one calls a child selfish because it turns for comfort to its mother; nor an adult who turns to his fellow "for company." (2)

The lesson I’m learning over and over these days is the humility to ask for comfort from other people. The humility to split my chest and say yes, "I'm not perfect and I need other people."  The humility to give the brokenhearted love, the need love.


I love being the one who loves.  

But my humility becomes a gift on the days when I need other people. I can learn to be humble, and someone else gets to be the one who loves.  







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Evelyn Hildebrand

I love people - it fascinates me that it's impossible to really completely know another person.  There's always uncharted territory.  I love the ocean - the power that pulls you into a rising wave, the clean, clear curve, the pounding crash when the bubbly crest of a wave hits you feet as you dive straight through.  I love paint - on canvas.  On mason jars. On newspaper.  On my hands.   






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(1) C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves, 14. 
(2) C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves, 13. 


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