Joy Shared

I'm sure the neighbors heard us celebrating last night. My beloved Boston Bruins brought home the Stanley Cup for the first time in 39 years last night.

I didn't have to console my 8-year-old with a speech about how sometimes we work really hard for something, but it just doesn't work out and the important thing is that we do our best. Instead, we got to watch Bruins captain Zdeno Chara hoist the cup over his head, then give it a big kiss. It was a wonderful moment, made even sweeter because I had someone with which to share it.

You see, I've been in this spot before. Besides being a Bruins fan, I'm a Red Sox fan. When the Sox ended their 86-year World Series title drought in 2004, my parents were out of the country, my daughters were too little to care, and my husband thinks my sports obsession is a bit over the top. When the Red Sox won, there was no one with whom to celebrate. While the victory was sweet, it was lonely.

Last night, my daughters were granted a bedtime reprieve to watch the game. When the final seconds clicked off the clock, we all cheered together. We discussed the great plays of the game and watched the Bruins goalie pick up his well-earned MVP award.

Even had the Bruins lost, it would have been easier to bear with the commiseration of my girls. We would have discussed what a great run it had been and dissected the missed opportunities. Sorrow shared would have been sorrow lessened.

Life is a lot like our hockey celebration. It's much sweeter when it's shared. God never intended for us to go about life alone. One of the first things God said after He created the world was "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

God knew that life lived by yourself is a lonely existence. We were made for companionship -- the companionship of a spouse, friends, children and family. Shared joy is sweeter, and shared sorrows are lighter.

Sometimes, we thinkt that we can go it alone. We don't need companionship to grow spiritually. We don't need anyone to share in our lives. But God never intended for us to be Lone Ranger Christ-followers. Even Jesus surrounded Himself with companionship in His disciples.

If you're trying to go it alone, stop. Find someone with whom you share some common interests and begin sharing your life. This requires openness and transparency, and it's not always easy. Opening ourselves up to others brings with the inherent risk that that person can hurt us. But if we shut ourselves off from the rest of the world and make no effort to connect with others, then we condemn ourselves to a life half-lived. A life where there's no one with whom to celebrate the joys or share the sorrows.

And, if we live a life without reaching out to others, we teach our kids to rely only on themselves as well. We rob them of the opportunity to share their joys and lessen their sorrows. We teach them that living an insular life is good because it lessens your chances for hurt. But they lose the opportunity to enjoy the amazing diversity of people God puts in their path.

God intended for our lives to be shared. He doesn't want us to walk alone. If you have created a life where there is no one to share your laughter or your tears, reach out today. Ask God to show you people with whom you can connect.

And if you are connected with others, look outside your small circle of friends to find someone who needs connection, too. Draw them in and begin to share in their lives. Life will be sweeter for both of you.