No man is an island, don’t walk alone..

She left an imprint. Its been 20 years since I’ve seen her but memories flood my mind of the footprints she left on the heart of a 5 year old. Time doesn’t remove those days, I remember her so very well.

My aunt was an interesting individual, small in stature, short grey hair, makeup-less, gruff and yet I know down deep underneath the tough exterior was a tender but very wounded heart. I remember at times she would have a cigarette or a piece of hay hanging from her lips as she walked with confidence, she didn’t care what anyone thought of her, in all honesty I think she was a man trapped in a woman’s body. She wasn’t interested in dressing pretty or talking sweetly. She ran a farm, drove an old 1970s van and had a way with words…no doubt where I learned a few cuss words. I gained my affection for Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton from her. She was my “Nanie” and I loved her so very much. I looked up to her, I loved being around her, she was different, independent and strong. Perhaps a little to strong…

I remember at the age of 5 her telling me that she didn’t like to get to close to people because she had lost to many.

I remember what an impact it made on me..

I remember feeling sad that she thought she needed not to need anyone.

Even at the age of 5 I knew that she didn’t really mean that. Time moved and as the years passed she pushed me away along with many others. I was hurt…and if I’m honest even at 37 there are still parts of me that wished she hadn’t gone away…I mean, she never moved, she still lived 5 miles from my home but she just stopped reaching out in a multitude of ways. Perhaps she was protecting herself. She had lost both of her parents, siblings, a dear friend and a 2 year old nephew. She kept most at a distance as she did life alone….maybe it was safer or easier in her mind. There may have been some that she still let close…but not to close.

I remember being that way too…and at times there are still those moments where I fear allowing others to get to close….whether it is for fear of rejection or abandonment or loss or a conglomerate of all of the above. This is what we do when we want to avoid pain, rejection, abandonment. Self protection though is a facade isnt it? I mean are we really able to escape pain or disappointment? Can we really avoid it? We can build fences around our homes..and even our hearts but it doesn’t protect us from life’s uncertaintys. We can’t lock pain out of our borders….it’s part of living life in a fallen world. Even with the slickest security people can break into our hearts just as easily ad someone can break into our homes.

I personally got tired of trying to keep everyone out…it is exhausting and lonely. I learned over the years to keep the toxic people away and allow the ones who loved me well – closer to my arms, even if that meant they were human enough to possibly hurt me. I must allow them to fail..or disappoint for I too will fail them as well..however God fills in the gaps of their and my human inadequacies.

By allowing others in we receive the benefits of having our heavy arms held up during the storms like Aaron and Hur did for Moses. We sharpen one another when the things of this life dull us.

My precious aunt thought that by limiting her exposure to loving and being loved by others would barricade or at best limit pains ability to sneak in. I don’t think it did. Loneliness is not exactly pain free and neither is isolation. She passed away this summer and as I reflected on her I remembered the good memories of her. Sadly though, those memories stopped decades sooner than her life actually ended. I don’t know how she spent her last years, I don’t know who she actually let in but I hope that somewhere somehow she let someone love her…

Life was never meant to be lived alone…even with the potential of heart break. When God created the heavens and the earth He said it was good until He created man and said

“it is not good for man to be alone”

I dont think this is exclusive to man and wife but all humanity…man, woman and child. It is not good for any of us to be alone.

We were created to rejoice together and to mourn together. To struggle together. To walk together. To laugh together. To encourage one another. We are all fighting a battle. Everyone. We have all won some and we have all lost some. We have all lost someone. We all fear losing someone. We all long to be accepted. We all long to be known. We all long to be heard. We all long to be loved.

Pretending we don’t need these things – pretending we don’t need relationships, pretending we don’t hurt, pretending we don’t care what people think, pretending we are self sufficient,

pretending we don’t need fellowship on this wild journey called life just makes the innate call of our soul to be known and loved sting…more

pretending.. doesn’t remove truth.

It is not good to be alone.

If this is you, if you are or have tendancies to self protect…don’t. Don’t. Don’t walk alone. Don’t pretend you don’t need…someone. Let someone in…

Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.