I recently spent some time with my elderly mother. Over a year ago she had to move to the Health Care section of the retirement community where she’s been living for over a decade. Mom has trouble walking and seeing. She is hardly unique. Everyone around her has one or multiple problems, and are cared for by wonderful nurses and aids who do what they can to help.
Mom and the other residents were once able-bodied and strong people, full of life and vigor, busy with family and career, but now can barely take one step without a walker, if that. As I spent time among them one word continually came to mind: dependence.
When we are born we are totally dependent on our parents. If we live long enough we return to being completely dependent on others. In between those two periods we deceive ourselves into thinking that we are independent. I don’t deny that we achieve many things with our own hands, but the reality is that we are never self-sufficient. The condition at the beginning and the end of a human life points to our continual state of dependence, most of all on God.
I don’t like to rely on others any more than the next person. When I did a thesaurus search for “dependent” I came across such words as “vulnerable, inferior, defenseless.” These are the notions that we associate with dependence. But God doesn’t see it that way. Jesus was the most powerful man to walk the earth, yet He openly and repeatedly talked about His dependence on the Father. He didn’t see it as a sign of weakness, but rather as a mark of strength.
We can try to deny our dependence on God, but that’s a useless enterprise. The best solution is to embrace it, because only then can we fully take advantage of all the blessings and grace that God has in store for us.
Picture: Carol Schlorff