I Believe In Love Because We Are Stronger When We Stand Together
Last week I ripped the 1960’s era asbestos floor tiles out of our kitchen, a project that required my wife and two boys to evacuate the home, and me to put on an astronaut-like suit with a respirator. (Asbestos is dangerous and requires protective gear.) So from early morning to late night—including one all-nighter—I worked by myself in our kitchen, completely isolated from the rest of the house and from all of humanity by plastic sheeting. I was literally walled off in a zone of plastic. And when the kitchen became a muddy mess from the sticky goo underneath the floor tiles, I felt like Frodo slogging through Mordor.
The project stretched from what was supposed to be a weekend project into a whole week, and I grew increasingly demoralized. The thought of creating a home that was safe for my pregnant wife and two boys motivated me to keep going, but let me tell you: I got lonely in that zone of plastic with my respirator and astronaut suit.
I just wanted my wife and boys to come back and make our house a home again. To be awoken at 5:30 in the morning by my toddler who insists on his morning ritual of Daddy and puzzles, to see my four-year-old Danny doing his classic“I’m-so-excited-that-I’m-just-going-to-randomly-jump-and-down” routine because he gets to watch an episode of Paw Patrol, and at the end of the day to tuck my boys into bed and snuggle with my wife. Life together is better than life alone.
And that’s why I believe in love: we are stronger when we stand together. A solitary life is made habitable by other people and their love. A person, no matter how money-poor, is made rich by the love he gives and receives and molds and builds.
When I started dating Amber, I told her that discovering her was like discovering another universe. (That was a compliment, by the way.) I grew up with all brothers, and I had always been slightly terrified of the opposite sex. So with Amber, I guess you could say I was putting on my own astronaut suit and landing on another planet and meeting this woman who was different than me, but who shared so many of my hopes and loves. (“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for David.”) She was beautiful and sexy and kind and warm and…Amber. I wanted to love her forever, and to always be enriched by her presence. Life together is better than life alone.
And when we got married and started having children, it’s like we married the two different universes that were Amber and David, planted our flag on planet Earth, and started sharing the love and life we were building together with other people. We invited friends and strangers into our tiny apartment for parties, started projects together—and eventually started making babies together! Our love was growing and expanding, and there was no way I could have done that by myself. Life together is better than life alone.
The love and “life together” that I’m talking about is not confined to romance or marriage or family. I admire my single friends who have no intention of dating and getting married, because they believe they are called to love and serve their friends and neighbors as a single person. I know one woman, a godmother to my oldest son, who is single, but has become like a mother and sister to many people—she radiates joy and kindness to all the people she meets. She, too, knows that life together is better than life alone.
Some of us want to eventually start dating and get married, but for whatever reason, are in a season of life where it’s not the right time. Maybe you just haven’t met the right person yet, or maybe you have been hurt in past relationships, and you feel the need to heal more before getting into another relationship. That’s okay, too. In friends and family and community, we can discover that life together is better than life alone.
I had hit a low in my home repair project when I received a text from my friend (and fellow iBiL writer!), Carrie. Could Nate (her husband) come over and help me with finishing up the floor, she wondered? When I said, “Yes!”, she said he would also bring some Chinese food for dinner and milk and beer. So with Nate, I ate Chinese food and drank milk, and he put on an astronaut suit with me and together we marched into Mordor. I can’t tell you how much of a difference that made just having another living, breathing human being next to me.
And after more help from my super-supportive in-law’s, we had the project conquered—and the plastic walls came down, and Amber and the boys came home. And I had a fresh reminder that we are stronger when we stand together, that life together is better than life alone. And that’s why I believe in love.