Together vs. Alone

Together vs. Alone

Would you rather travel together or alone?

Would you rather shop together or alone?

Would you rather run together or alone?

Would you rather eat together or alone?

Would you rather read together or alone?

I could go on but you get my point. Although there are certain things that are almost always better Alone I’m learning that Together is better.

Sadly, I didn’t always feel this way. For whatever reason there was a time in my life where I would insist on doing most all of these things by myself. I had no idea the treasure that was waiting for me if I would’ve chosen to do these things with Lainey. I was an idiot. I was actually capable of going hours in the car saying barely a word; starving Lainey of much needed connection. I was content to go it alone. I regret now the feelings of isolation I caused in my wife.

I barely knew what “together” meant. I might choose to do something “with” her but we weren’t together. Probably a better way to say it is that we were doing the same thing at the same time…but not together.

My life was so segmented and chopped up, I didn’t share much of anything with anyone. That way I was able to selectively hide parts of myself from certain people. I was living a lie…becoming one person here, another person there. And none of myself was available for sharing. This is a dangerous and destructive way to live.

It was hard to see at the time but much easier now to see the disconnection and loneliness this kind of lifestyle fostered. I was digging a deep hole and didn’t even know it. The more I insisted on going it alone, the more alone and disconnected I felt.

I think a lot of this might stem back to the way I was raised. My dad, like many in his generation, threw all he had into being the head of the family. That meant making the bold decisions and taking the lead alone. I’m sure he probably did consult my mom and even us kids from time to time…but I don’t remember a lot of that.

Don’t get me wrong…my dad was a good father and a great and Godly man. But his example to me was that a man faces the scary future alone. He wrestles through the options alone. He makes the decisions alone. And he alone takes the lead.

That’s brave. But that’s not “together.”

One of the things I’ve learned on this journey is the power of “together.” Together Lainey and I face the future. Together we make the decisions. Together we live with the results. We talk, we plan, we try and succeed…together. We pray and laugh and cry and experience God’s Abundant Life together. I now know from painful experience that the fruit of Together is a lot sweeter than the bitter fruit of Alone.

But to really walk out this life together takes humility. You have to admit, like I did, that you are a mess and you can’t do everything on your own. Others have great ideas. Others provide valuable input. Others can see things in your blind spot that you can’t see. Others and their viewpoints are fascinating and compelling.

When you’re mature enough and humble enough to let go of “alone” and embrace “together” you’ll always have a shoulder to cry on when things don’t go well and you’ll have someone to sip champagne with when you are victorious.

It’s so much more fun to share the experiences of life, travel the miles, solve the problems, endure the hardships with someone else…together.

Thank you Lainey for being together with me.

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  • That is the most meaningful and beautiful thing I’ve read in a long time. It makes me very happy for you and Lainey, especially after spending time with you both.
    At the same time, it makes me realize how truly lonely and sad a large part of my life has been, and will always be. What I wouldn’t give to have a spouse who I could connect with. Meanwhile, I try not to wallow in self-pity and remain grateful for the healthy and fulfilling relationships that I do have.
    I do hope you and Lainey will come back to Inn at the Lake this summer. It was such a blessing to have you both working with us. You both added something so fresh to the mix, and I believe God could really do something amazing with you there long term as well.
    Happy belated Thanksgiving to you both!

  • Thank you for your thoughts Karen! I pray that God would bring you a harvest of rich relationships that allow you to drink deeply of “together.” We’re looking forward to coming back to the Inn and re-connecting with you and David and Rosie. So much to be thankful for…so much to look forward to…so much to be excited about!

    • I don’t even know how to respond, Michael, except that I’m so thankful that we get to share “together” together. Your humble heart is a healing balm, and your daily sacrifices for my good are a testimony to our living God who sees us, knows us, and loves us so well.
      Karen, I’m so looking forward to this next summer! I know the pain of your loneliness, and I continue to pray, as Mike put so eloquently, “for a rich harvest of relationships that allow you to drink deeply of ‘together’.” I could speak “Christianese” right now, but the truth is….I don’t know the why’s and how’s. I just know how to pray circles around the desires that God puts in my heart, and that’s what I’m joining with you in doing for the deep longings in your heart. Let’s share “together.”

  • You put into words what my heart has been hearing from God. He is rebuilding the ancient ruins. He is so faithful to us isn’t He? He is so patient with fresh doses of mercy while we work through the pain of alone to truly desire the better “together”. You have my great gratitude today for being real, being humble, and calling us to join you there.

    • Thank you for your comments! Together is tough sometimes but the fruit is worth it. I’ve often thought that where two or more are gathered together…there will be a mess! But we are created as social beings and we require “together” as part of our make up. Even the most introverted among us have the desire to know and be known by others. As easy and conflict-free as “alone” appears, it’s also a pretty dark and lonely road by yourself. Thanks again Jennifer for your comments. I hope to hear from you again!


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