The Debt of Gratitude

by David Roten

We are not the same. Like snowflakes, no two of us are alike, yet we touch and are touched by thousands of others on life’s journey. In spite of our attempts to achieve independence, we need each other—and not just in the obvious ways. We need each other to be who we are. Have you ever noticed how some people can bring out the best in you and how others seem to draw out your wacky sense of humor or your adventurous spirit?

In so doing, others help to make us who we are, especially those we choose to be around the most: our friends. We need them all. As C.S. Lewis once said, “In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out.” We are who we are fully only in relation to others. That implies both a need to receive and a responsibility to give, to have a friend and to be one. In a very real sense, we become a vital part of each other. 

The truth: We were not designed to go it alone. We long for connection because we are incomplete without it. It has been this way since the beginning. Father, Son and Holy Spirit enjoyed perfect communion yet wished to share and expand it by creating mankind. Adam and Eve, quite literally, were made for each other and became the first family and the basis for community.

One of the ways we acknowledge and even celebrate that community is when we gather together to eat. When we take our place at the table, we offer not just food but ourselves to each other. In the end, there is no such thing as a self-made man or woman. Each of us owes a debt of gratitude—first to the God who made us and then to the friends who help us discover why. 

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