Two Really Are Better than One

Superman had his “Fortress of Solitude” where he could get away from the cares of the world and reflect on his lost home planet and duties to earth.  It was an artic getaway where he could clear his head before returning to the pace of earth life.  Out of all of his strengths, at times, this is what he had that I most envied.  A place where you could be alone and get centered before returning to the duties of earth’s hero! If you think about it, and are honest, you agree with me.  Even Jesus needed this, as Luke tells us: But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed (15:16).  Imagine my excitement to learn of a place in Monowi, Nebraska with just one resident.  That’s right, a woman by the name of Elsie Eiler, a strong-willed 88-year-old is the local tavern owner, mayor, treasurer, clerk, secretary and librarian of a town of one! Monowi (pronounced MONO-eye), is four miles from the South Dakota border and 60 miles from the nearest Walmart (that might be a problem for me).  Elsie has been there since the 70s and is the last one standing.  She runs a tavern six days a week for those who are passing by and come from local areas. She has no intention of leaving and no plans for after she passes on.
The old saying, “No man (or woman) is an island,” comes to mind.  Most people think that was one of Shakespeare’s famous lines, but it’s not.  Maybe the Bible; nope, but close!  ‘No man is an island’ is an idiom taken from a 17th century sermon by John Donne, the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral.  Donne is remembered for his poetry, but this phrase was not from a poem, but a sermon!
“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” 
The phrase has been used by many over the years, but this Christian sermon is about how human beings are connected to each other, and how important that connection is for the wellbeing and survival of any individual. When you hear the church bell tolling for someone who has died, don’t ask who it is, Donne says, just know that it’s tolling for you too because you are part of the same society and the death of anyone takes a part of your own life away.  The sermon is noted, not just for ‘no man is an island,’ but also the phrase ‘for whom the bell tolls,’ which was used by Ernest Hemingway as the title of his most famous novel.
What does all of this have to do with us today?  At every turn we are encouraged by our society to look inward.  Headphones, personal playlists, social media that is really targeted to isolate the reader, all have to do with taking us away from the thing that actually gives us more strength; other people.  God created us for relationships because it is through these relationships that we identify our purpose and service of Him.  He said in the beginning that it was not good for us to be alone, and our greatest example is how He would walk in the Garden, in relationship, with Adam and Eve.
Even Elsie Eiler of a town of one acknowledges this truth.  It’s nice to get away, we all need it, but coming back refreshed to engage with other humans is when we are at our best.  Today, take your time away in prayer and relationship with the Lord. It is in these moments that we grow closer to Him, but also learn what it means to have love and connection with other people.    
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

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