When I was in Uganda I used to communicate with a friend named John on Facebook for about a year and a half. I knew that he lived somewhere in the USA, but not exactly where. We used to talk about how we can take care of other people and be more loving to people ourselves. When I moved to the USA I found out that John was living in a nearby town! I went to visit him and we had a great time together and we talked about all the things we used to talk about, but now in person! All his family members were also very happy to see us having a good time together. We started visiting each other regularly, and our friendship grew.
I told John and his family about my experiences of teaching love in schools and communities in Uganda, and I gave them a set of Cards for Living. They were so happy and they asked me if they could pick one card so that we can read it together and talk about it in our next meeting. I agreed and we planned to have another meeting to read the cards and share our experiences together.
Last week we had our meeting and we shared the card called Healthy Dependence. We talked about how we need to depend on each other, because we all have different skills and so we need to work together if we want to make beautiful things happen. John and his wife Terry gave examples of all the people they depend on and how much they appreciate those people. And how good it is that they can depend on each other.
We had a really great time and they wanted to keep having a group discussion two times a month, which was very inspiring to me.
Below is the text from the card that we shared: I hope this will inspire you as much as it did us.
Healthy dependence is a mutuality in which I depend on you and you depend on me. I am reliable for you,and you’re reliable for me. We depend on each other wisely and appropriately—not irresponsibly.
In a healthy dependence, we learn how to make use of each other, how to serve each other, and how to be served by each other. You learn what your partner’s strengths are, and they learn yours. You use their strengths, and that validates them, strengthens them, and brings out the best in them. Healthy mutual dependence strengthens everyone involved, because when someone needs us, we have reason to be strong and good and responsible. And when someone nurtures us and takes care of us, we draw strength from that, too.
Healthy dependence is a wonderful experience. The happiness of togetherness, the strength that comes from it — the wind in our sails, the lightness of step and fullness of heart. And of course, we’ve all experienced the superior effectiveness of teamwork, when many hands make light the work. Emotionally and practically, life works better when we’re in it together.
We bring out the best in each other. Only in the context of trust and mutual love will we share our most beautiful, personal, and touching qualities. We need people to inspire us, desire us, need us, make demands on us, bring out the best in us, or most of who we are will not be expressed.
A mother is tender, soft, compassionate — but without her child, that sweetness would not have come out. A friend gets to be loyal and constant because their friend needs that. The heart is full of passion, but without someone to invite you, ignite you, excite you, your wonderful feelingness remains unexpressed, unexplored, and unknown.
We have good reason to be dependable. The truth is, we find our homes in one another. We depend on each other’s feeding and care; we depend on love, on relationship. We sometimes want to think of ourselves as unaffected, but if our relationship is going poorly, we are endlessly bothered; and if our lover or spouse doesn’t give us enough love, we’re unhappy. We can’t help it. In contrast, when our relationship is flourishing, we’re happy, strong, full of energy.
We all need the nurturance of being loved, and the happiness of loving. But the only way to have love reliably is to be reliable for others, otherwise they won’t open up to you, or stay close to you. The love you take is equal to the love you make. So give the love, care, and commitment you want and need from others. Then you can be part of an endless circle of love.