When I was about 14 years old I was in Galveston, TX hanging out with my friend Mike Reuter and his family. He had one or two girls in his family I was interested in
dating holding hands with so with all the wisdom of a 14 year old I set out to impress. It was a weekend of showing off in every way my imagination could fathom.
Then I had an idea. A wonderful, brilliant, and ultimately terrible idea…
At that time in my life I knew even less about girls than I know now, but I knew this: Girls like when guys do backflips!
So I went to the end of the pier, ten feet above the dark water of the Gulf of Mexico, hung my heels over the edge…and LIFTOFF! As I was soaring through the air thinking about how awesome I must have looked it occurred to me that I had no idea how deep the water was.
SPOILER ALERT: Three feet of water is not deep enough to properly land an awesome backflip.
With an injured tailbone and an even more wounded pride I crouched below the surface, pretending to tread water so no one would know I was actually sitting down. Finally, when everyone made their way back to the house I stood up and walked in.
It looked deep.
We all have relationships like that. They look deep. Truth be told, nothing is wrong with a shallow relationship as long as you don’t ask too much of it, but suddenly jump in with everything you have an you may find yourself wounded.
We need more than 1.74 people with whom we can attempt an awesome backflip. We need more than 1.74 friends who will catch us pick us up when we do something stupid and find ourselves emotionally or relationally banged up.
I came across an African saying the other day: motho ke motho ba batho ba bangwe/umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu which means, “A person can only be a person through others”.
So much of our lives are lived alone. We exist in a perpetual state of “not good“. Alone, we are less safe, less fulfilled…less than human.
We are, therefore I am – John Mbiti