There are men who’ve done amazing things in isolation.
Adventurer Aron Ralston took a solo hike through Blue John Canyon and was pinned to the canyon wall when a massive boulder rolled onto his hand. After being trapped for days, he eventually opted to break and amputate his own arm. He survived.
Or go back almost two centuries and you will find the story of Hugh Glass. He was a trapper who was left for dead after being severely mauled by a Grizzley bear. Glass clawed and crawled over a thousand miles, mostly alone and under-resourced. He too survived.
These stories provoke something in a man’s heart that is a mix of good and bad. The will to survive, the choice to confront pain, all good things. But we often take it further and glorify the idea of fierce independence.
Consider the following interchange between Alfred and Batman (The Lego Batman Movie)…
Batman: “I don’t do ships, as in relationships.”
Alfred (later that night): “Do you want to talk about how you’re feeling right now?
Batman: “I don’t talk about feelings, Alfred. I don’t have any, I’ve never seen one, I’m a night-stalking, crime fighting, vigilante and a heavy-metal rapping machine. I don’t feel anything emotionally except for rage, 24-7, 365, at a million percent. And if you think that there’s something behind that, then you’re crazy.”
It’s funny because it’s true. This is stance many of us take. But the drive for independence is a lie. It is a lie that gets most men killed (it is possible to die before your heart stops beating by the way). There is a reason the stories above are rare.
It doesn’t matter how strong we are, how much gear we have or what we think we know. If I am standing in the middle of a dense fog, I need someone from the outside who can see me and show me the break in the trees.
True, Glass survived. But wouldn’t it have been better if his own men had carried him out of the woods? Yes, Ralston inspires thousands when he speaks about his self-rescue. But had he gone into the canyon with friends he may have been freed within hours rather than days.
There is no way around it. We need God and we need each other. The good news is God is already closer than you think. And the best way to gain friends that will carry you is to become one yourself.