Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Healthy Level of Independence

One of the things I learned as a single man, when I was thrust into this situation approaching mid-life, was independence. First, I was dependent on others, but slowly out of that time grew a healthy independence.

I eventually learned to not rely on people too much and to do things for and by myself. I then yearned for this independence, at times seeking days alone, where I could independently work on my thoughts and plans and my relationship with God.

I recall at one point going to a monastery and spending a day and a half in a small room fasting and not drinking much water, and just being still, to listen to what God was saying. On other occasions I wandered purposefully through the city I lived in at the time, reading, planning, meditating and just enjoying the signs of life my senses could breathe in.

Independence is not just a single thing, however. Everyone should have a healthy level of independence from other people, so, in their aloneness, they can learn and be the unique ‘them’ they should become.

And so I can do this independent living thing in married life too. I can do all things through Christ--and the best thing is I only get better and stronger. I’ve learned that I can apply my single-life philosophy of not needing to rely on anyone in my marriage too; especially in my marriage.

I can manage whatever household chores come my way--nothing is beyond me. Nothing is ‘hers’ and not mine. If I’m called[1] to do it, in that moment, I can do it. And I will. If it was just me in any event, that’s how it would be... me, alone! Likewise, in planning events and activities, I don’t need to assume that others will assist me; great if they can, and if I request it and we agree, great.

But, essentially, it’s sweating the small stuff to haggle over menial tasks. As the Brian Adams song, Summer of ’69 says, “Ain’t no use in complainin’ when you got a job to do.”

Even in my workplace, I can do things independently if necessary, without complaint. I like teamwork and working with people to a certain extent, but we can’t rely on it all the time.

Provided I’m wise and don’t get involved in too much or things not appropriate and provided I don’t take things for granted and issue grace consistently, I can continue to develop my capacity and capability so I can please God. Independence, like interdependence, can grow without limit.

If we do not deceive ourselves all things are ours (1 Corinthians 3:21-22). God, provisionally, does not limit my activity in this life.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

NB: This is not comment on dependence on God which is primary.

[1] This is when my wife wants me to do a particular thing or chore and I can help.

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