I always assumed I enjoy stories of recovery because I like redemption and restoration. Part of my enjoyment may include these elements but I think an even bigger portion of my joy comes from how one individual leans on another, yet both of them come away stronger. Their strength is greater than the sum of their parts.
I remember the character of Rocky Balboa describing the success of his relationship with Adrian. Balboa says that they “fill gaps” for each other. They both have gaps in their lives and they fill each other’s gaps. They lean on one another and the resulting structure is stronger than each standing on their own.
I was listening to the story of a woman who’d had her larynx removed because of disease. After recovery, she was able to communicate but some days were very difficult. Her daughter was deaf but turned out to be an excellent confidante for her mother. On days when the woman could not speak, she could still communicate with her daughter by simply “mouthing” the words so her daughter could read her lips. One person uniquely understood the other and one person had someone who would seek them out for conversation when others might not. They restored each other.
The best part of the internet is animal videos. I like a good “buddy” story and social media is full of them. The stories of animals that are blind but are fortunate in that they bond with another animal who becomes their eyes or lonely dogs who adopt stray kittens, opossums, puppies, etc. They are filling gaps for each and in their moments of need, they combine to become stronger.
Lisa and I lean on each other too. If you see us together you will notice we are arm in arm and walking together slowly. I provide Lisa a little stability on the ice and help her at doorways. What you don’t see is me leaning on her. Lisa has a very old soul which I view regularly. This perspective helps me be a little more patient and calmer. She does not change very quickly whereas I am constantly on the move. She is my anchor and I am her stabilizer. We fill gaps for each other and in our need, make each other stronger.
If we truly inherit the world when we are meek, then it makes sense that each day of our infirmity is just another day to connect with someone else and share our strengths. It seems to me that even when we are going through something traumatic, we should keep our eyes open as God may be trying to show us something and someone might just need us as much as we need them. We just might need to fill each other’s gaps and in the process each become stronger.