In order to shut my mind down at the end of the night, I often imagine myself in certain situations: super-secret spy, lonely drifter, inspirational teacher/coach, or mountain man. This last one tends to capture my interest a lot as I place myself in the wilderness of British Columbia, hundreds of miles from civilization with only a few small items to survive. I usually imagine going to this place to get away from it all and to live my life in peace, seclusion, and quiet.

While my imagination can take with this scenario a thousand different ways, I almost always run into a snag – there are certain times when I need help, either with lifting the beams for my hewn-log cabin, or carrying a moose through the swamplands, or fending off a pack of wolves. As much as I would like to imagine living life in solitude, I still run into the fact that I need others in my life.

I’ve tended to follow this train of thought in my real life as well, “I can do this on my own!” only to realize that a board is too heavy, or my car will fall on top of me, or I can’t face having a difficult conversation alone. The truth is I need people in my life to push me forward, to help me when I need it, to encourage me, to chastise me, to keep me accountable…I can’t do this life alone.

I had a sampling of beer with a friend yesterday and as we were talking about seminary, life, family, and my future, I realized how important this relationship is to me. Over the past week of being back in my hometown I’ve met with seven friends who truly care about me and want to help me succeed. They desire nothing but the best for me and hope I can become the real ‘Sheth’ they know is within me. These relationships move me beyond myself and my selfish thinking (that I can do life alone) and they help me realize that others care deeply about me.

walt whitman

As hard as we try, we need relationships with other people. Recently, I ran across this show “Mountain Men” on the History Channel and it intrigued me for a number of reasons, but mainly that these tough, rugged, scraggly people in remote locations depend on other tough, rugged, scraggly people for their survival. They reach out to one another to hunt, build homes, farm, raise their kids, chase off mountain lions, pick berries, drink wine, laugh, and play games. All people need people.

I’m about to wrap up my time in Salida and probably won’t be back for a few months, but I know I have a large group of people here who will always be there for me, will prod me on in life, and will call me out when needed. And as I return to Austin, I know I have a large group of friends there who will do the exact same thing. I shake my head at my former self for trying so desperately to go at it alone, but now I know the importance of living snd doing life with others.

May God grant us wisdom to reach out for others, and may the Creator place people in our lives who will help us to be who we are meant to be.

much love. sheth.

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