I’m writing this post on July 4 and just thinking about independence, something I cherish. Most of us don’t wish to be dependent on anyone. It’s part of the spirit of being American, and let me tell you, it is ten times more prevalent in the New England Yankee spirit! But are we shooting ourselves in the foot in our hunger for independence?
Two evenings ago I got a call from a Deb whose pet cat of 19 years was losing ground and slowly showing signs of dying. This cat had seen her through the darkest period of her life, a real soul friend. Deb’s pet brought her stability and safety, something she could count on. Now she was close to losing her comforting presence. My independence from family and job responsibilities enabled me to be there “for” her, for four hours of intense counsel and coaching.
Are you independent “from” people or independent “for” them? Does your independence offer you the freedom to enter more deeply into others’ lives or simply to get more wrapped up in your own? Has your independence offered more community or are you feeling like an island, alone in a vast ocean of humanity?
I wonder if we are meant to be independent “for” rather than “from.” Oughtn’t our individual freedom free us up to be there for others? Isn’t real independence meant to liberate us from our darker selves, our saboteurs that tell us that we don’t have time for others, or even for our own needs? Independence well lived can re-knit the bonds of community and rekindle the love that we were meant to share as fellow pilgrims on the road to success.
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