If you Google “The Power of One” you find info on movies, books and lots of quotes on how amazing and important a single person can be at positively impacting their lives and the world. Even Hollywood loves to have a hero or heroine as the center of the story-line in their movies. And all of us love to hear how someone overcame great odds to win the prize, conquer the foe, or get the girl… or the guy.
We imagine being that person and how awesome it would feel to experience those victories and get all the “goods.”
In truth, however, life isn’t really like that. When you think about it even those heroes had people, (or creatures or beings of some sort) helping them on their journey…. and recently I came to understand this all too personally.
On a normal weekend, a little headache decided to show up. Within hours I found myself holding my head in my hands feeling nauseous and in massive pain. The drive to the hospital included a bucket in my lap for the vomit which eventually leads to dry heaves. A week in the hospital ensued with tests, drugs and the beginning of expected, though not this soon, dialysis attempting to reduce the liquid build-up in my brain.
How was I doing?
Not so good.
Did I need help?
My wife, bless her heart, had been by my side throughout the ordeal from the start. She drove me to the hospital while I wretched in agony. Talked to the doctors at length about what to do. Brought me stuff from home that I needed and watched everything from a chair in my room including somehow staying overnight as I suffered.
The truth? Clearly, I couldn’t and we can’t do this thing called ”life" alone.
This notion of depending on others I’ve always been aware of. But being the way I am I’ve tended to do things on my own. “Rugged individualism” is a term I often used. But with a little oppositional defiance disorder mixed in if I were to be more honest. I even believed that I didn’t really need God or some “Higher Power” to show me the way or help me out. “I can do this on my own”, or “figure things out”, I thought. At least I didn’t need some kind of personal God. Just a general “Nice Guy” power out there somewhere to ask for help when I was in a pinch.
And so it went… for years.
As I got older it was interesting to look back on those times and reflect. Work did get done. I experienced achievements and defeats and relationships which came and went. But something just wasn’t right.
Life just wasn’t getting easier.
I mean I know life wasn’t SUPPOSED to be easy. But man, what’s with the grind?
The seemingly endless tasks and duties that leave very little time for play? For doing things that feed the soul. And how about the sense of purpose or peace? I mean what’s the point of all this? The “why am I here” and “what am I supposed to do with my life” kind of questions? At that point, I just hadn’t gotten adequate answers or solutions to the nagging feeling inside that I was missing something.
In truth, I actually WAS missing something…or more accurately, Someone.
I had spent decades working at serving myself mostly. Trying to get more stuff or achieve more accolades to make me feel good, to make me feel significant. That was it. The result? Nothing much… Just a few trophies, some awards on my wall and boxes full of photographs of things I had made that one day would most likely end up in a dumpster.
So one day I decided it was time to make a change. From a Me-centered life to a God-centered life. To live according to The Book. This I then found out made all the difference.
No longer would I try to be the hero…alone living just for me. Heck, life was too much work to try and do it all alone. I needed help! Beginning with God. Then after that, people. I needed people to help me… and people I could help. People I could serve. What I discovered is that it really was more blessed to give than receive, to serve others than to be served! The stuff in The Book really did make sense, at least the part I could understand did.
So much for the “Power of One”.
I wasn’t meant, (none of us are) to live life NOT knowing God. I just wasn’t meant to live by the power of one, Me. How silly, arrogant and in fact dangerous! Without my wife’s help, I would have been in big trouble the day I got a headache. Thank God she was there!
Thus when we really get down to it, like that ol’ saying we’ve heard before, “Man does not live by bread alone”, “Man does not live by being alone” either.
I pray therefore that you might live by the “Power of Two” from now on as well… if, of course, you’re not already doing that now. :)
Originally posted on Dave’s blog.