The Sunkissed Life

Life in Community, Death in Isolation

Jahara Stevenson

Everyday we come in contact with so many different people and strangers all throughout the day. We meet a range of people on the daily and some we even connect with. Everyday throughout life, we are making friendships, building relationships, engaging with other humans. For some of us we are lucky enough to have circles of friends. These little networks of 3, 4, or 5 people that we trust. I mean really trust. Those people become our core support team. We always refer to them when we dump our boyfriends, or when we fail a class, when our parents aren’t being fair, and when we can’t decide what nail polish looks best with this trendy fall hair color. While it’s great to have these amazing groups of guys or gals that help with the every day crisis that occur, can they help when things really crash?

Society has made it seem somewhat unacceptable to be vulnerable and have deep conversations that show transparency. Due to this stigma, often times when we are hurting, dealing with tragedies, or painful situations, we try to heal in isolation. I am hands down guilty of this very thing. I have a few different friend circles and we are all very close. Despite the safety in these circles and the comfort level I have with them, my natural instinct is still to rely on myself in times of considerable crisis and just let them know “I am dealing with some stuff”. I may miss out on social outings, skip out on hangouts, or even miss events if the situation is overwhelming me. Rather than trusting my dearest friends with my pain, sometimes I focus more on not wanting to be the Debbie downer, or wanting to always display strength for them, or even being ashamed of my struggles that I can find myself resorting to isolation.

God didn’t design us to be isolated. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 reads, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” The Lord knew this life would require support and community. He references it so many times. We are not simply surviving, self-sufficient beings in the sense that we can just handle every emotional situation all on our own. Community helps us in ways that we can’t necessarily help ourselves. Community is encouraging. Being with and around other people, we have the opportunity to experience people in different stages of life whom can offer alternative perspectives. Community also provides a fun environment. Doing life with other people can feel like a party at times. Psalm 133:1 references how pleasant it can be. Living in community also fosters a spirit of love and support. Community is life giving. “We are better together than we are alone”.

While isolation is easy, natural, and sometimes what feels the safest, community is literally essential for us to grow and succeed. Doing life with other people who have our best interests at heart, care for us, and share similar beliefs can be key in tackling life’s ups and downs. There is always life in community, and death in isolation.