Those strolls through the redwoods at Mt Hermon near Santa Cruz provided a lot of pics and posts for Unconventional. You might recall a similar pic from May 20. That post, “Lean on Us,” showed two redwoods holding up another. The latter’s base had eroded with the rain, fell against these two and was held up by them. This shot came from not far away. Two separate trees leaned toward each other so long they grew together. Two trunks merging into one.
Yeah, you see where we’re heading. The reality of joining lives until they mesh into one another. Marriage is the ultimate example, by God’s intent, “a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one” (Genesis 2:24). Ever notice how some couples, married 40 or 50 years, even begin to look like each other? Sheila and I have hit 40, and are nicely joined, but fortunately she hasn’t taken on my appearance. And after those 40, I can’t imagine not being with her. She’s no more perfect than I, but we’re locked together. I like that.
But because God designed us to be connected, we need close relationships beyond our marriages. I can’t meet all of Sheila’s needs. Nor she mine. Her back won’t allow her to join me on bike trips, so some good friends dating back years can. Think of good friendships. Think of how you connect with those in your church. Decide to join your lives with others more intentionally. They will support and enrich you and bring some good times.
I like the analogy in 1 Corinthians 12-14, where Paul compares the church universal to the body of Jesus. And each follower is a member of that body. Would your friends recognize you as part of this body?
So how do we join like those two redwoods? Like them, it takes time. Two of my best friends, one in Oregon and one in Tennessee, date back multiple decades. After being gone for six years, we moved back to Temecula and are developing new connections.
But more than mere length, we need depth. Shared activities. Getting through the pressure of trials shared. Jerry and I worked at a church summer camp for two years after high school which crafted the bond. And, we both ride. John and I led a mission trip to New Mexico decades back, and some shared trials forged a bond. It also helps that his son lives in SoCal and we try to connect when they visit.
However, choose wisely. Is this a person you want imbedded in your life? Is there enough commonality to build on, especially in values? I like Paul’s advice, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
Keep in mind, the guy writing this thought of moving into the mountains of Idaho and becoming a hermit. Honest. But God wouldn’t let me, and I’m glad. We need each other. We need this level of joining.
Kick Starting the Application
Examine your friend’s list. Do you see some of this level of joining? If not, do you sense something is missing? What can you do to change things? If you do have friends of this depth, what helped that develop? Would growing closer be a good thing? For all, think of what you might do to extend the breadth of joining.