Companionship is such a precious gift. Friendship, family, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, husband and wife.
We need others.
I was just reading the words of Solomon today and thinking about how damaging it can be for so many young adults who are sent off alone to college, and they end up becoming so lost, distant from all familiar connections at a time when they are so highly influenced.
I don’t think that humans were designed to be severed from their families and communities like this.
Of course most people in our culture think this is somehow healthy and right and it builds up independence. But sometimes the drive for independence is a one way ticket down Lonely Street.
The words of Solomon:
There is one who is alone,
without companion son nor brother.
Yet there is no end to all his labors.
Nor is his eye satisfied with riches.
But he never asks ‘For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?’
This also is vanity and a grave misfortune.
Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm, But how can one be warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
I’m so thankful that my daughters have each other and have close friends that they adventure with, work with, go on missions with and serve with.
I’m so thankful that my son and his sweet wife Rita have been companions and have been together when most young adults do things like college, first jobs, immigration, missions and travel alone. I love that they have each other.
I’m so thankful that I lived near Josh all through his college years, his parents asked us to wait until after college to get married, so I found a way to move to a town near his school so we could spend time together and be there for each other, and go to the same church.
I’m so thankful that Anna invited me to be her companion on her trip to Israel. She felt called to go fast and pray in the Judean Desert before going back to Dallas with Rachel to launch His Story The Musical. Today we are learning Jerusalem and going to the place where Jesus spent 40 days fasting.
In times we must go out alone, Jesus is our companion if we receive Him. In times we are called to go alone God brings us companions along the way. But if you are going alone, or if you are sending your child out alone- beware- send them because it’s a calling or a mission and they have been prepared to be cut off from everyone and everything familiar. Don’t just send them out alone because that’s what is normal in our society. Just because it’s normal it doesn’t mean it’s right, good, healthy, natural or in your child’s best interest.
Don’t send them out alone because it’s the default, or because society obligates you to do so. Is it what is really best?
My daughter Anna waited until Rachel turned 18 before she moved out at 21, so she and her sister could go together. They went to Mexico, Dallas, New York and came back to Indiana for a while. Then Rachel came home for 6 months while Anna traveled with other sisters and friends. Esther moved to Oahu, and lives with a friend who is a wonderful companion, like a sister, so blessed. And she visits us multiple times each year.
I just want to encourage the parents who have a heart to set their child on a path unlike the default. I know that a lot of people agree with the idea of launching their kids early into far off places alone, and maybe that’s your child’s calling. Just pray that companionship is part of their story too. Loneliness leads to all kinds of dark places and it’s a big reason for depression, and most young adults in our culture struggle with depression. Does anyone ask why?
We need companions, sisters, brothers, best friends, spouses, mothers and fathers, cousins and partners. Not phones. Phones can never take the place of people.
Be a companion. Be the one who lifts up another when they fall. Be the one who keeps the other warm. Be the one who labors for others. Be the one who enjoys life’s rewards with others. Be that person who loves, forgives, heals, encourages and works hard to make someone else’s life rich and full.
Be the one who is that friend!
And if you want to be sure that your children are never lonely – have more kids, have them close together, adopt a sibling group, or a couple orphans around the same age who have no one.
Filling your life with children is only hard for a short time, but the blessings are endless.