Everyone Needs Someone

It’s 7:17am on an abnormally brisk morning in June and I’m sitting alone at our local Whole Foods eating some overdone bacon and some under-seasoned eggs. It seems they are truly committed to the idea of “Whole Foods,” which apparently means abstaining from salt and pepper. Barbarians.
I digress.
I’m not here for the food, clearly. Rather, I’m here to meet with a small group of men I affectionately refer to as “My Boys.” They’re friends of mine—some old, some new—and solid men who are trying to figure out what it means to live a God-honoring life in 2018. It’s not some weird accountability group, and we’re not reading books together. We just meet every Wednesday morning at 7am to spend time encouraging and challenging one another.
As you may have guessed from the obvious discrepancy in time above, the boys are running a bit late, but that gives me an opportunity to get down some thoughts to share with all of you out there on the internet. You see, too many go through life alone. Many people spend inordinate amounts of energy turning themselves into lone-wolves, projecting an image of independence to the world that they don’t actually possess. There are some that have an incredibly difficult time making friends and developing deep relationships, which puts them squarely at odds with the folks I just mentioned. Then there’s most of us somewhere in the middle: we want friendships, we want real relationships, but we don’t exactly know how to go about turning casual acquaintances into life long friends. This post isn’t a “how to” meant to teach you how to develop those friendships because, quite honestly, at 30 years old I still find myself struggling with that. I can’t teach you how, but I can do my best to tell you why.
I don’t care who you are or what your background is, the simple truth is that we all need other people. If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, like I am, you know this is true from reading numerous passages about iron sharpening iron, David and Jonathan, and the examples of the early Church meeting together in one another’s homes. If you think that’s all crazy propaganda designed to control people—we can talk about that another time—and you prefer science to faith, then the evidence is still squarely on my side. Numerous studies have shown that people with deep relationships lives longer, more fulfilled lives, and even tend to be more healthy than those without those connections. Even the Mayo Clinic is on my side with this one.
Whether you see this life as ~80 years of toil, or the first steps of an eternal journey, the people we have around us, or the relationships we lack, will define and direct each step we take. I can point to many different times in my life where close friends saved me from making terrible choices, or other times when running with a bad crew led me down the wrong paths. I know what happens when you push people away and begin to explore the endless vacuum of loneliness; it eats and eats and is never satisfied. We need to surround ourselves with people who care about us and want us to grow. As Jordan Peterson says in his book 12 Rules For Life, you need to make friends with people who want the best for you, spending all of your emotional energy on the folks that see who you can and will become, not a group of people who keep you around for a laugh.
Deep relationships are hard. When you open up enough to let people in, sometimes they’re the ones that wind up hurting you the most. Not opening up, however, is worse. If the doors to your heart get rusty, it’s hard to find a way in when you really need to be saved. Let me urge you to open up and let others in. Invite some folks out to breakfast, ask them questions about their lives, and ask them if you can share something with them. Be consistent: relationships are like paths in a field and they’ll overgrow if given the chance. Don’t be afraid to stomp through the high grass to save yourself or someone else. As I’ve joked recently with some of my friends, none of us are getting out of this life alive, but together we can get through today.
One of my boys just pulled up a chair, so I’ll keep this brief and give him my attention. I hope that you will spend today giving your attention to someone else and building a relationship you can lean on tomorrow.

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