Relationships are Hard

No, I don’t just mean romantic ones or family ones.  Relationships are difficult, period.
The level of effort required for a relationship is a major deciding factor when choosing whether or not to engage in it.  Is it worth it?  Should I open up my heart to this person?  Should I take a chance?  If I’m honest in my quirks, will they think I’m insane?  Could time spent hanging out with this person be better spent elsewhere?  How much work will maintaining this relationship require on my part?
I think Eleanor captured the core of our fears in this statement.
Caution can be a terrible stumbling block.  Hesitation, though only for a moment, can lead to a lifetime of loneliness.  Reservation can construct a barrier, one that seals us off from emotion and locks us in a cell of selfishness.  We want people to believe our lives are perfect.  Relationships threaten that image.  Why?  Because it invites that person into the inner mechanisms that make your life tick.  Someone might discover you’re not perfect.  They might discover you have an anger problem.  They might see that you don’t have your life together, or worse…that you’re slowly losing control of it.
It’s a battle of pride.  In this country men struggle with it more than women do.  Women tend to open up with each other more about their struggles and identify with each other more quickly.  Of course, many times this comes back with a vengeance when they have a disagreement and they throw all of the others’ struggles right back in their face.  Men, on the other hand, are brought up in our culture with the desire to prove that we don’t need anyone, and we certainly don’t want to convey any emotion in relation to what is going on in our lives.  Why?  Emotion signifies weakness.  Vulnerability exposes you to potential attacks, and we must, above all else, never show that we might need something, tangible or otherwise.
The potential effort along with the drawbacks of our imagination set us up for a very lonely life.
Let’s pause for a moment though.  How do we really find meaning?  How do we live out the purpose for which we were made?  The answer is: beyond ourselves.  Getting involved in the lives of others.  I don’t mean saying “I’m praying for you, bro.”  I mean actually getting to know someone.  Getting to know their needs, the things they struggle with, and areas where they might need encouragement as a human being.  Paying attention to God and paying attention to others is how we find that meaning beyond our tiny existence.  Alone, we fall trap to bitterness and selfishness.  But getting involved, now there’s the stuff that gives us purpose and allows us to build a life and legacy that will live on long after our time on this globe is up.
Are we going to let a little effort stand between us and purpose?  Will we allow a slight momentary inconvenience rob others of the things we can contribute to their lives, and vice versa?
Let’s be a part of something bigger than ourselves.  Let’s extend a hand to others without expectation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *