Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? …Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Early one morning, I interrupted my bike ride to stop and check for ripe fruit in some wild plum trees in my neighborhood. As I was about to cross the street home, a car came out of nowhere and I stopped my bike too quickly. Losing my balance, I stretched out my arm to stop the fall. My wrist was broken and I was in faint in shock, so my husband rescued me and off we went to the ER.
Keeping active and enjoying outdoor activities and exercise has been good for my overall health–great cardio for the heart and an energizing spiritual connection with God in creation. For it is in the ordinary that I find the sacred, and those ordinary activities become sacred with an invitation to spend time in the presence of God doing everyday life together.
That being said, it seems that those annoying, un-ordinary moments are also sacred pathways that strengthen my connection to God, and others. After a few days of severe pain, having only one hand, and asking my dear partner to help me do everything, an old memory verse in Ecclesiastes 4 came to mind: Two ARE better than one!! It all seems rather obvious that two hands, two eyes, two heads, and two people in partnership are all better than just one. Yet our brains and our culture have taught us otherwise.
We are individualistic, often self centered, and everything around us is branded “my way.” A popular Christian speaker announced her summer plans for a “Me Camp!” Of course, much of spiritual formation and discipleship is about a “personal” relationship with God, yet, we were not created to live alone, we need the other, we need community, in fact we are better in a life shared:
Keeping company with Jesus is not just a private spiritual act, it is the trinitarian life of God with others. We are meant to live in community the same way God does. In the company of others we make our journey and learn to tell the truth about ourselves. Interacting with others we learn the vulnerability of giving and receiving love.Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
REFLECT. Who do you talk to about your spirituality? Have you been going about your spiritual life one-handed? Alone?
Stephen Macchia says our personal spiritual life is discerned and framed within the context of our relationships and our spiritual community and lived out in service with and to others. Do you find this true in your own spiritual life?
PRACTICE. Spiritual Companionship. A spiritual friendship involves sharing the journey of relationship with God through a mutual commitment to support, encourage, listen and pray for one another. Does this sound like something you need? Begin praying for the friend or to be a friend who can be a discerning and prayerful companion.
A good resource is David Benner’s Sacred Companions. He discusses five interrelated elements in a healthy spiritual friendship: love, honesty, intimacy, mutuality, and accompaniment. I would add the willingness to listen well without giving advice.