Thursday, March 6, 2014
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help.” (Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10)
This passage is specifically about friendship and how it is good to have friends along your journey. My friend Lisa once told me that one of the main contributors to homelessness other than lack of money and opportunity was the lack of a support system. There have been times in my life that I have slept on the couches of friends and lived with members of my family and community. Other times these people have helped me process and work through hardship. And even other times, these people have brought me great joy and laughter.
In Womanist theology, one of the parts of feminist theology that comes from black women’s experience, the “tag-line” as you might call is reads: “Lifting as we climb.” This image is one of a women on a latter whose opportunities are bringing her up from the obstacles and oppressions that have kept her back. However, instead of climbing up that latter quickly by herself, she climbs slowly because she is bringing her community with her in the ascent.
I have been blessed throughout my life with family, friends and community. These people have been my rock when times have been hard and my joy when times have been easy. In the Quaker tradition, the term helpmeet refers to friends traveling together. Women in particular, traveling in the ministry, would often call each other Helpmeets, meaning dear friends who supported and accompanied each other.
The term comes from the Hebrew Bible, Helpmeet is translated from the Hebrew word “ezer” which means “to rescue” and “to be strong.” In Genesis 2:18 it says, “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helpmeet for him.” This passage refers to the creation of Eve and is often misunderstood. I like to think though, that God knew that two people (regardless of gender) are better than one for many reasons, among some of which are: companionship, accompaniment, support and love.