Yesterday I talked to my Bishop and when he asked about my work life I told him that it was going to ramp up in the next couple of months because of the election. He was prompt to offer the advice that my calling is set up as a co-chair so that I have someone to lean on when needed. I jokingly said that I was aware but that I probably wouldn’t do such a thing unless I was right at my breaking point.
Why do I feel the need to do things on my own? To accomplish my goals on my own? Is it some insatiable need to “win” or rather just a product of training?
It used to be that I wouldn’t reach out for help at all and so reaching out before a breaking point is a real improvement. He chucklingly replied that this is how most all of us, including him, are. I brushed off this conversation until today while I was talking with my friend from Stanford. We were G-chatting when he mentioned that he had a friend in politics that he relied on for his political information. This resonated with me because I have a few key friends I look to in various areas. I then stated this:
“There isn’t enough space for us to hold it all and so we need to be social about information, that is why I hate tests that are designed to have you know everything, tests where you can’t work with others or use outside help. When (besides Armageddon or a deserted island) are you ever going to need to do stuff entirely on your own?”
Open Mouth. Insert Foot.
I do too many things on my own. I try too much to hold everything in my hands. I try to be an activist, a good employee, a friend, an active ward member, a support for those in need, a dancer, an actor, a student, a righteous person, a healthy eater who works out, getting 8 hours of sleep a night, be good husband material, someone who loves myself unconditionally, and I can’t do it all. There is no way to do it all on my own. As Ron says in The Order of the Phoenix, “One person can’t feel all that at once, they’d explode.“
And so I am finally admitting that I can’t do it all, and there is certainly no way I can do it all on my own. Somethings I will drop from my list of things I want to do, others I will ask for help for. But in a larger sense we have great potential to be social creatures.
We try to work for our own eternal salvation without asking for help. We try to be strong and independent when life would be much more enjoyable working together. We need more group thought, not less. And so stating with me I will wake up and look at my new quote from Cicero, “We were born to unite with our fellow men, and to join in community with the human race.” That will be my constant reminder not to set myself apart and do things on my own, but to work together and flourish.