Monday, February 1, 2010

Multiply Life By the Power of Two

Once, when I was 19 years old, I stood knee deep in a lake in Ireland, looked up at the beautiful mountains before me, and wished that I could just go up into those mountains and live with God forever. I had an aching longing to be with God and no one else, to escape the interpersonal entanglements that burdened me. That is not the only time in my life when I have felt that I could be happy spending the rest of my life with nobody but God. Sometimes I get so frustrated with the people I love that I've asked myself if it's worth it to keep trying to make these interpersonal commitments. Maybe it would be better to just be a crazy hermit or something.

Most of the time, however, I know better. Wise King Solomon wrote, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:9–11) How well I know these words to be true!

The first few years of marriage were a little tough for me. There were a few times when I got really upset and had long arguments with God about why He had saddled me with my husband. Was my marriage really worth all the problems I had to deal with in the beginning? Eventually I learned just how valuable it was to have a husband who would stick with me no matter what, even if he was a little annoying sometimes. The issues of marriage are worth dealing with because I also get a companion to pick me up if I fall, a warm body to snuggle up to on cold nights, and a partner who helps me fend of my adversaries. I've even discovered that this lesson isn't limited to marriage. Those friends who can be difficult and the family members who confuse me sometimes still bring so much good into my life. They're worth all the effort I expend to make them a significant part of my life.

Every relationship I have is special, and each person in my life makes me stronger. Two is better than one, but that means that I need lots of people in my life, because I can't just be with one person all the time. Even my husband isn't constantly by my side, so I need other people to be my partners sometimes. Each person has the power to support me, to make me feel warmer and more secure, and to take away my fear when I'm faced with a challenge. As long as I have relationships in my life, I never have to face an obstacle alone. I can multiply my own power by the person who is with me. Occasionally I still get the urge to leave everyone behind so that I can just be with God, but then I remember that those people are gifts from God intended to bless my life. I am strong with God as my allies, but I am even stronger with my loved ones on my side too.

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