“The moment we cease to hold each other… the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.” James Baldwin
In the 1980’s I read a book with a striking title, We Really Do Need Each Other. I quite regularly return to the truths implied in that book with the simple title.
We were not created to be alone. We live with an inexhaustible reliance on the love and relational affirmation of others. Even those of us that call ourselves introverted or quasi-isolationists require attentive and committed relationships.
Even the Acquisition of “Stuff” is a Relational Need
When I consider my deepest of needs, I inevitably go to the kinds of needs that cannot be filled by “things” or “more stuff.” But… as I was journaling this morning my mind went to subject of new clothes. I admit: I am a “recovering” clothes addict. Whenever I visit my “go-to” men’s boutique I am literally haunted by the desire to buy at least something—anything—just to walk out feeling good about myself.
And that is what the whole thing is all about, isn’t it? When I purchase classy men’s wear, I feel good about myself because I live in the illusion that others may like me more because I think I look good. (Reading what I just wrote is embarrassing… but true.)
My point in all this, however, is not about new clothes. It’s about lasting and meaningful relationships. Clothes be damned. People are what count.
To Be Human is to Be in Need of Other People
I just finished a book, Nothing Personal, written in 1962 by author, philosopher, and political activist James Baldwin. In the opening quote to this blog, I am drawn to the words of Baldwin whose focus was on what it means to be human in a broken and racist world. Instead of the vitriol like we hear today, he lands on relationships and writes, “The moment we cease to hold each other… the light goes out.
It always seems to come down to this: People in your life really matter. We really do need each other!
Finding Fellow Sojourners
Yes. Ram Dass was right on target. Aren’t we all on a journey of simply “walking each other home?” We are in dire need fellow sojourners in the journey of life. Others that “get us” and accept us anyway.
We Really Do Need Someone
To Walk Us Home
Photo courtesy of Gujiang xie at istockphoto