Because of Jesus Christ, the Rugged Individualist…Not!

Have you bought into the lie that you can achieve everything you need or want to accomplish in this life all by yourself? I did, for a time you know, when I was a delusional pharisee.

Nowadays, I try to be open to both helping others, and (this was a toughey!) being helped by others. And not just from the good “others,” but from all others. You see, many of us were raised to accept nothing from no one. No help, and no handouts, allowed, you know, for honors sake. Which sort of flies in the face of accepting unearned grace, doesn’t it?

How to change? Easy. No, don’t listen to singer Eric Carmen (earworm alert!). Instead, look to Jesus as a role model. That’s what Christians are supposed to do, right? Joseph Susanka, our resident film aficiando here at the Patheos Catholic Portal explains this in his first post of the New Year,

If anyone could be expected to distance themselves from fallen human beings, it would be Christ. When Godhead speaks to Godhead, are other, lesser voices really necessary? Yet the Feast of the Holy Family and that of Mary, Mother of God, coming within the Octave of Christmas—falling hard upon the staggering realization that the Creator has condescended to be born of his creature—remind us that even the most powerful, most independent, most perfect of all human beings did not see isolation as an ideal, or something to be sought after. He did not spring suddenly among us, perfect, as did Athena. Nor did he choose to be raised by Nature’s instruments, like the legendary Enkidu or Atalanta. Instead, he chose to be part of a human family—an incredibly impressive, unduplicated human family, to be sure; but a human family none the less. He chose messy interconnection. He chose intimacy.

But is this really a surprise? In one breath Christ commands us not only to love his father, but our neighbor as well. In the perfection of Eden, the Creator pronounced that it was not good for man to be alone. Our human relationships are not meant to be crutches for our imperfections, nor are they incidental to our lives. Like the strings and hammers and keys of a piano, they each have meaning, and a role to play in the creation of the song of our lives. A young man might sing out in romantic conceit that he is a craggy island, but why would he sing about it unless he expected his song to be heard, and some response to be made?

Our relationships are what make us human. Why would we expect the God-made-man to avoid them, or his church to ignore what he has embraced?

Go read the rest, but be warned: you’ll be dialing up movies from Netflix (and other sources) that you never heard of with titles you may not be able to pronounce. But you’ll be glad you did.

When God became man, he had a lot of help from his parents, and his fellows. Go, and do likewise.

  • Sandy

    As one who goes back and forth between wanting a hermitage and being reminded that everything done is for others, I identify with this.

    Ideally we’re supposed to be integrated persons who avoid neither solitude or the company of others — especially being helped by others when appropriate. This is hardest part to accept, and over and over you can read stories of those who had a period in life brought to them where the exact antidote or need was accepting love from others.

    Nice work.

    • Frank Weathers

      Joseph Susanka did all the heavy lifting on this one. B.A.L.A.N.C.E. :)

  • Sandy

    Haggis! Well, I never! ;)

    • Frank Weathers

      Me neither. Now, if he would have said chittlins or menudo, that would be a different story.

      • Sandy

        Menudo. No. Just no.


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