I was reading a blog today by Moving Right Along, a friend of mine who is dealing with a Jobian pile of hard things in her life. You should read it - it's one of the truest things I have read in a while. I had to respond, and wouldn't you know it - the darned "comment" button refused to engage. But then I thought, I'll blog about it - because we all know there's nothing more annoying than someone who hijacks your blog. (Though I'd love many more comments on mine in the first place...).
The point she makes in the last entry "More than We Can Handle" is that the platitude "God doesn't give us more than we can handle" is better suited for a bumper sticker than for real life. (I'd just like to point out it's not a Scriptural reference anyway...who knows where it comes from ?) And her argument is that "the exact opposite is true. I think God ALWAYS gives us more than we can handle." I agree.
This is something we know from our own origins. We need God, and we need one another. God is a dynamic exchange of love between persons. And made in His image, so ought we to be. While most of Moving's examples stand on their own merit, I want to point out a couple more.
When I was younger, I travelled a lot. I have been really blessed to have wandered the streets of Rome late at night, when it is very quiet, and all lit up. I have eaten Mozart ice cream in a centuries-old alleyway in Salzburg, and stood on the banks of the Mississippi. I have done these things alone. Camera in hand, I have tried to capture many of these moments, but what is the point of a camera if not to share? My point really rests in my experience of aloneness while Seeing Something Amazing. My first instinct is to share it. I want to know someone I know is also experiencing that goodness. I want to point to the amazing thing and say - wow! do you see what I see? I want to do this even when someone IS standing next to me and Of Course sees what I see!
A few weeks ago, at a birthday dinner at a four star restaurant, eight of us spent most of dinner passing bites on forks and spoons back and forth to one another, sipping each other's cocktails, finishing all the duck fat fried french fries on my brother's plate. Last week for my anniversary, my dh and I passed crab cake and monkfish and cappucino creme brulee and banana financier back and forth all through dinner.
We share these good things because we love one another. We share because our hearts are made to enjoy communal experiences. We share to reassure ourselves that we are not alone.
But we also share the hard things. A friend of mine recently said to me that good friends know exactly where the other is at. She is right. If I am a good friend, I ask after the other, am open to their needs, keep them in mind, and keep in touch - at least enough to know what is going on. That relationship of trust allows me to tell my friend in Denver, with whom I chat on the phone only about four times a year, how much it sucks to be off my foot for weeks, or what the doctor told me. And it is why we were made - to care for one another, to share with one another, and to reach a place of balance and peace - not because I have Awesome Willpower or have some mighty ability to overcome, but because I am being loved, and because I belong to the community of humanity who shares my frailty, and my heart.
It is hard to be loved at times. It is equally hard to bear one another's burdens with them. But doing so brings us closer to our original purpose -to us as a reflection of God. It allows us to love as God loves, to share our passion with the other -- our compassion, and to really know our own person by giving and receiving from another.
In community we can meet the mountain and perhaps get dragged up it on lines and ropes, kicking and screaming. But we can get to the top. Alone... well, we definitely can try to handle the mountain, but one slip, and we're goners. Me - I'd rather be part of the climb to the top. Because at the very least when I get there, I can point to the view and say to someone else: Do You See That? And they will.