My co-worker went to the hospital yesterday. She is an independent working- woman living on her own. So am I. Her health failed, she called her own ambulance and we are all hoping she comes back healthy soon. This is what it means to many of us that we live on our own. We can find support in our churches and in social circles, and in friends we make as adults…but these are not the same people and family we knew in high school. Our world has changed and we are responsible for the emergencies and the headaches. I know it is not a good, solid, established world if we do not have other people in our lives…but we are no longer children and we have to face our hardships alone at times.
If we lived in the colonial days, most of us would be more self-sufficient. We would grow and hunt our own food, make our own candles to light and spin and sew our own cloth for clothes. In today’s world, we make the money to pay for others to provide what we need. I could not sew a button on a shirt without knowing that I would never place it properly for the hole and attach it securely. While I know that I fail at complete self-sufficiency, the episode of my co-worker yesterday brings home to me that there are times, on our own, that we cannot afford to fail, for ourselves or for others.
Teammates have sent their prayers, their wishes, flowers, and phone calls…but my co-worker has no one to help her with the decisions but her doctors. I cannot begin to say how much the human connection matters. In an adult world, we expect our lives to be our own. When we are on our own, those who care and show us kindnesses become important as validity that we are not disconnected in a self-sufficient mode that will fail in crucial moments.
I have never known how to live in fear. Some who have known me would call me, at times, too brave for my own good. It takes courage and strength to live on your own. Wisdom needs others as well. My co-worker, at this point in time- as far as we know, is going to successfully recover. I often wonder if these sorts of situations are different for women and men, perhaps not.
We can hope; we can care; and we can reach for others…but there will always be those adult moments when it is our own decisions with our own responsibilities that critically determine the answers. There are just more of those moments when we live alone. I hope my co-worker recovers soon. I know she has more strength to have found what she needed in crisis than most. This is not a reason to be afraid. It is a reason to consider that we all need others, in some way, and those of us on our own value that need.