I’m going to write this post early, in fact before I’ve even started thesis work for the day. I’ll be happy if today I end up writing 1 page since today will be pretty busy but then again, Fridays always are.
Instead I want to talk about something my roommate said to me a few weeks ago.
We were talking to a friend who drops by the room fairly often but I’ve only really gotten to know this year. At first, she wasn’t the type of person I could see myself hanging out with. She was nice and happy and bubbly and usually that’s a tell-tale sign for me that someone’s not being completely honest. And indeed, over the past few months as I’ve gotten to know her I’ve come to realize that she wasn’t being completely honest or at least she wasn’t being totally forthright about herself. She wasn’t lying, per se, but there was much more to her than she initially let on.
I found, over the course of these past few months (which usually involved her spending the night in my room or frequently dropping by and talking with me and my roommate), that she and I were really similar. But I didn’t really find that out until last week when we had a really in-depth conversation about her past experiences with friends.
I found that we both hold these two conflicting personality traits: one is this underlying sense of distrust, while the other is a huge capacity for love and a great desire for intimacy. I saw it in her because I’ve seen it so much in myself, especially over these past few months. The first is hard and I’ve talked about it before. It’s a wide-open wound that, if never properly taken care of, can infect your whole body. It’s a wound that probably needs to be stitched up but instead you just put a bandage over it.
The second is a deep desire not merely to be loved but to love with all your heart. It’s the realization that our closeness with others is one of the most exciting, rewarding and difficult things in life. And the conflict between these two realities that my friend holds within herself, that I wrestle with daily, comes from the fact that to experience the second great love we have to allow others to touch our wounds. Some people just poke and pry and they make the wound worse and they make it hurt more. But other people want to lift the bandage, see the scar, and help stitch it up. The thing is, as the person with the wound, it’s almost like you’re blindfolded and you don’t know which is which. You don’t know who is trying to hurt you and who is trying to help you. And that’s really, painfully difficult to endure.
I don’t think my friend and I are the only ones who have felt this way. I think a lot of people have something inside of them that is in direct conflict with their desire to love. And this leads me to my roommate’s point:
I don’t have a great metaphor for this so I’ll just paraphrase as best I can. God made us to be in relationship with him. And he also made us to be in relationship with each other. And I don’t think he wanted us to choose between one or the other. I think, in theory, we could get through life only ever being close to God. I do believe that could work. But I don’t believe that’s the best possible scenario for us. I really believe God wants us to do both. There’s something glorious about giving your heart, body, thoughts, dreams, sometimes even your will, over to another human being. I think that’s what friendship and romance is all about. And of course, it’s exceedingly beautiful to be united with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That’s what faith is all about.
I think one day, I should write a philosophical treatise on love and relationships. I would definitely read it.