By your side

For the past few months I have not been able to walk without the support of someone else. I tried with just my trekking poles at the weekend but had to concede that right now, I still need someone to keep me from falling.

Do you ever wish you could do it all by yourself? In your own time? The way you prefer? Me too. But sometimes life takes us down a different path. And there are lessons to be learnt there too.

When we are dependent on another person we learn to be patient. We learn to follow the rhythm of their steps. We learn to trust. I have never been good at any of those. I would always choose working alone over as part of a team. I always thought the result would be better in the end. Even now I find fault with how my family are walking with me and the way they set me down. However, only today my neighbour remarked on how fast I was walking. When someone else is holding onto me, I never fall.

Being independent is lauded as the way to be. Fleetwood Mac tells us to ‘go your own way’ and Frank Sinatra boasted ‘I did it my way’. But if we can’t, if stepping out leads to falling over, then having someone by your side is better.

Nicky Gumbel recently reminded me that when no-one else is around, God always is; ‘That the God who created the universe should be with you is not something to be taken lightly. It is an extraordinary and wonderful promise. To experience God with you by his Spirit is life changing.’ Knowing that we are never alone is immensely comforting.

Is your arm ready to be held onto? Are you strong enough to admit you need somebody else’s?

I think that is a lifelong lesson for all of us, don’t you?

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