Better Together

This is a post I originally wrote almost 10 years ago (wow!) back when I was a single mom of two kids. But its message has been coming back to me recently, and I thought I’d repost it here with an update at the end. Enjoy!

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There’s a song by Jack Johnson that says, “It’s always better when we’re together.” I know Jack was referring to the love of his life, but lately I’ve thought of this in terms of my sisterhood of women.

I’ve noticed lately how much we women sometimes just do things on our own. Why do we think we have to do everything by ourselves? Somewhere in our culture of independence and self-sufficiency, somebody goofed. These are excellent virtues, yes… but they can be taken to the extreme.

The past few weeks a group of women I am a part of has been participating in a fun activity. On Sunday we draw one of the other women’s names from a basket and then we do something to help her that following week. I’ve been so surprised when I’ve asked the women whose names I’ve drawn what I can do to help and the answer is, “Oh, I’m fine.”

Really? Because if you were perfectly fine then you wouldn’t have anything left to do here on planet Earth.

I did something anyway for each of them, completely unbidden. I’m such a rebel.

This experience really gave me pause. I’m sure there was plenty I could have done for each of them. I offered to wash their car, bring a dinner, or weed their flowerbeds. No takers! Why do we have such a hard time accepting help? Is it because we don’t dare admit that we can’t do it ALL? Heaven forbid!

I think we forgot that we are meant to help each other. We are meant to work together. We are meant to learn from each other. No one is supposed to try to make it through their life all on their own. Besides, it’s more efficient, more fulfilling, and more FUN when we’re together.

Another friend and I have made it a regular habit to get together and help each other. We have no problem letting each other see our dirty sinks, our messy desks, and our scary closets! We are fully aware that we are both human beings, learning in the midst of this great adventure called life, and neither one of us has got it ALL together yet. It’s such a liberating feeling! I’ll go to her house and do her dishes while I put my laundry in her washer (I don’t have one!) and we’ll talk and work and come up with great ideas for the world’s problems… or at least our own.

It reminds me of days when women did their wash together at the stream. Or sewed a quilt as a group for a young bride. Or sat out on someone’s lawn during the long evenings of summer while the kids played together.

We were meant to work, play, laugh, cry, and be TOGETHER.

How about we stop saying, “Oh, I’m fine.” Instead, let’s start saying, “Let’s wash our cars. It’ll be better together.”

Additional thoughts:

When I wrote this in 2010, I don’t think I even had a smart phone yet. The world wasn’t to the point that whole groups of people could be at a restaurant together and all be looking at their own individual phone. The disconnect and the divide has gotten wider! Maybe that’s why this has been on my mind again.

I read a wonderful quote this week that said, “Stop smiling with your keyboard and start smiling with your face.” Isn’t that great!

I want to be more deliberate about fostering real, human connection. I want to have genuine connections with the amazing women in my life. I want to be the kind of friend who is willing to help and willing to allow myself to be helped.

Being together and working together and playing together really does help to lighten my load and lighten my day!

Do you find it lighter when you can be together with a friend?

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