Friday, March 14, 2014

Independence is an Illusion

I was thinking about independence today on my way to work. I know, it isn't the 4th of July or anything. That's ok, because I wasn't really thinking about that kind of independence. I WAS thinking about our country, though.

I think America (Americans) put a high value on independence. That isn't a bad thing. Our desire to be independent type individuals likely keeps a lot of people from laying around waiting for others to take care of them. It maybe keeps us motivated to move forward, to strive for better things for ourselves. That isn't bad, is it?

Here's the deal, though. Most of us are fooling ourselves to think we are all that independent. Unless you are living off the land, far from civilization, you likely aren't all that independent. You may want to argue with me but here's a little test to see if you are really independent:

  • Did you build the car you drive?
  • Did you build the road on which you drive that car?
  • Do you ever go to a store and buy things made by others?
  • Do you provide your own fuel for your heating and cooling system?
  • For that matter, did you make your own heating and cooling system?
  • Did you grow your own cotton, harvest it, do whatever all the steps are to turn it into fabric, then sew that fabric on a machine you made yourself in order to make your own underwear? 
  • Did you invent and manufacture the computer/cell phone/tablet on which you are reading this?
  • Do you ever feel the need to talk to another person?
  • Do you ever seek medical care?
I think you can see that this list could go on and on forever. I think independence is an illusion.  I don't even think we were ever meant to be independent. I think God planned for us to need each other. We are a gift to each other.

Hebrews 10:24-25
English Standard Version (ESV)
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Community is important. There are many layers of community. For example, I am part of a family that is like a community. I am part of a congregation, also a community. I am a part of a neighborhood. I am part of a work place, a different kind of community. I am part of a city, state and country. Finally, I am part of the world. These are all levels of community. They are all important. Sure, there are a lot of problems within community of any type, but there is also a lot of support and encouragement available.

I really do like feeling a bit independent at times, but I do realize it is just a prideful illusion. I need others. And others need me.

There. Those were my thoughts on my way to work today.

Now, as your reward for reading all the way through this, I will give you a sweet photograph that has absolutely nothing to do with this post.