Earlier this week I turned on The Message on my van’s satellite radio. I prefer the music on The Message more than what I can get on our local Christian station and often just listen to that when I am driving. Whenever they play something new, they preface it with the announcement that there is new music coming on. That day they played a song by Tenth Avenue North titled No Man is an Island. The chorus and one of the verses went as such:
“No man is an island, we can be found
No man is an island, let your guard down
You don’t have to fight me, I am for you
We’re not meant to live this life alone.
I see fear in your eyes
There’s no safety here
Oh, my friend, let me in
I will share your tears.”
I’ve done many personality tests through the years. The results were always consistent–I am an introvert. If you know me at all, you probably didn’t need a pencil and paper test to tell you that. It isn’t that I don’t like people. Okay, maybe that’s it a little bit…For the most part, though, it is the fact that being around people too much Stresses. Me. Out. There was a time in my life when carrying on simple conversations with those I didn’t know very well was a terrifying thought to me. I’m sure over the years more than one person has thought that I was either a snob or too stupid to know how to converse. Neither of those statements are really true, though. I’m simply one of those people who do okay without a lot of people in my life. My dad was like this as well.
Dealing with depression and a chronic illness tends to isolate a person anyway. Throw in an introverted personality and you have the perfect combination for long stretches of incredible loneliness. So often I have wanted to reach out to someone yet I haven’t because I know too much of that will just add to the stress I am already feeling. So, I tend to be a loner. I wake up to my three pets, see my son briefly before he leaves to work his second shift job, and am alone all day until my husband gets home from work at dinnertime. If he is traveling, I find myself alone almost 24 hours a day.
As I listened to the song play and let the words sink deep into my heart, I couldn’t help but finally agree with them. As much as I want to be an island, it just won’t work. Right now I realize that I need people in my life–genuine relationships, not just a bunch of people I don’t know. I know enough about myself to know I will never be the person who has fifty friends or loves to throw a big party, but I am learning that the complete opposite of that isn’t very healthy and it’s not the way God intended me to live. For me, letting people in is a scary thought. I was taught to be independent–to not ask for help. I try so hard to go it alone and do all the things that at one time came effortlessly. My life isn’t like that right now, though. Some days, I wish so much I had a friend who I could just call and talk to–and feel like I wasn’t intruding on their day.
I am realizing I cannot be an island. The difficult part isn’t realizing it, though. The difficulty comes in getting off the island and getting to mainland where other people are living and then learning how to coexist with others and share, truthfully, where I am in life. The hard part is letting my guard down. It’s so easy to do with words typed on a screen. That also makes it easy to hide from the reality that God created us to be in relationships.
For years I listened to the call of the island…
I believe the mainland is calling me…I need to decide if I will answer and, if so, how? What does that even look like?
When living on an island is all one has known, the mainland is very intimidating.