INDEPENDENCE—BANE OR BLESSING
If the truth be told, I have enjoyed (that may not be the right word) more independence in my nearly 84 years than I ever bargained for.
Being alone was not my first choice. I fretted about my situation for a good long time, but when I finally got used to the idea, I must admit that I rather enjoyed my freedom. Oh, there were times, of course, when I longed for someone who would miss me when I was gone, and be anxiously awaiting me when I returned. It would have been nice to have someone close to help with decisions, or tell me when I was headed in the wrong direction. Occasionally I needed someone to change a light bulb or take care of the car, but for the most part I was good at being alone. There were times when I even felt a little smug realizing that I could handle business and finances much better than many of my married friends. Some of them had never even paid a bill.
That was my life for seventy-six years. I learned to prize my independence, and the thought of giving it up left me troubled and sleepless for nights on end.
At the age of seventy-six, Sweet Cecil showed up. We had been friends for more than twenty years. He was recently widowed and lonely, and things between us became serious very quickly. It wasn’t long before he was declaring his love for me. Though I was flattered, I was also terrified. How could I give up my independence? I came and went as I chose. I lived the way I wanted. My schedule was mine to arrange. I was accountable first to God, then to my church leaders. That was it. At this late juncture, I wasn’t looking for a man. I had done quite well on my own.
My emotions ran rampant. I was excited…fearful…hopeful…pessimistic. I was determined I could not do this: yet, like the proverbial moth, I was drawn helplessly, hypnotically toward the flame. How could I, after all these years, make room for another person in my life? How could I share my space, my stuff, my bed, and be accountable to someone else twenty-four hours a day?
I gave up my independence on February 9, 2013, and found the other half of me learning that independence was never what it was cracked up to be. I don’t remember feeling like I had given up anything. I found someone with whom I could share my stuff, my time, and me, someone who was happy when I was there and sad when I was gone, and someone who even replaced light bulbs and serviced the car. I discovered that independence certainly has its deficits.
After five months and eleven days, God took Cecil home, and it seemed I was back to square one. Alone again! Independent again, and it wasn’t nearly as much fun as it had been.
I often hear of young people who cannot wait until they are old enough to leave home. They are tired of living according to someone else’s rules. They are chomping at the bit to get out into this wide, wide world that promises so much and gives so little. These kids yearn for independence wanting to live as they please making their own rules. This venture into the vast unknown is very often a rude awakening, for reality is not nearly as engaging as the anticipation.
Of course, everyone must grow up, and independence is important. Feeling that you know what you are doing, that you are in control and can take care of yourself is very empowering. Yet, if you are a human being, you are always going to need someone—someone to love you, to support you, and affirm you, someone to turn to, when the going gets rough. It’s worth forfeiting some independence for that kind of gain.
Actually, I gave up my independence many years before Cecil ever came into my life, when as a child, I knelt at an altar and gave my heart and life to Christ.
Oh, yes, I grew up to be strong and decisive, able to take care of myself. In the eyes of the world I was alone and independent, but God and I knew differently, for never once in all those years was I alone. He was always there to love, to comfort, to guide, to advise, to correct, and to bind up wounds. For, on those occasions, when I insisted on having my own way, there were always scrapes and bruises. I learned that God’s way is always the best.
In Proverbs 3:5-6 we read, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”
Psalms 16:11 tells us, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
This is the best advice you will ever receive.
REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!