There’s a solution to our failure to communicate. Monday, I highlighted the problem and today it is time for the solution. Boiling it down, the problem results from our deepest desire to know and be known intimately. The solution, I’m afraid, you will not like in today’s age of instant and pluralism. The solution gnaws at the very core of our intuition and instinct. The solution rejects our society at its core.
This isn’t oatmeal. To satisfy our deepest longing, there is nothing instant about it. No, it takes time to invest in the lives of others and dig down into the rich soil of another’s life. Likewise, it will take a while for others to do the same. The process will be tough, probably tougher than ever, as we’ve had many generations of hardening the crust of that soil so that no one can penetrate it. Why? Because it’s scary facing the possible hurt and rejection that comes from letting others see what we perceive as ugly and unlovable. What we have forgotten is that the God of the Universe loves us infinitely and completely. If He who can love nothing ugly or imperfect can love us, then we are far from unlovable. Again, it will take time.
There’s no “easy” button. Not only does true satisfaction take time, but it takes constant effort. The moment we think we are through, we need to put in more work than ever. There’s no website that customizes everything to our exact specifications and ships it to us in three to five days. This is precisely what makes genuine relationships worthwhile: they take time, effort and risk. Without the investment and potential loss, would relationships be worth anything? Cost is imputed only by what we are willing to give up in order to receive the relationship (in this case). Therefore, if we are willing to give up our deepest, darkest and most intimate elements, the true cost and therefore value is significant. However, the rewards are at least that great, if not multiples more. Time is a cost; it is an investment. Really, it doesn’t cost us much at all.
Give it up. I mentioned risk earlier, but risk is integral to the solution. In today’s economy and society, we’re so risk-averse. We want to hold onto our money as closely as possible and we trust no one. You do with your money as you please, but the latter isn’t right. If the line of reasoning follows, then you cannot even trust yourself if everyone is not trustworthy. Then you are saying you are better than everyone else on the earth. People are essentially good-natured and I think we can mostly agree on that. Therefore, we need to get over our paranoia and let people into our lives. We need to risk them knowing our intimate secrets. We need to let people see us for who we really are and give them the chance to love that person. How can we be loved if no one is given the chance to love our unadulterated selves? We’re not only depriving them of this opportunity, but ourselves in the process. That being said, we have to be wise with who we share certain aspects of ourselves. Not everyone needs to know every tidbit about your childhood. Let people in.
This isn’t multiple choice. There is only one option and it involves a few things our culture doesn’t like. In fact, everything here seems clearly counter-cultural and that’s the beauty. We need relationships, but first they take time. We have to be willing to forgo our expectation of instant gratification. Once we are willing to take the time, we also have to be giving our effort as well. There is nothing good in life that comes from laziness and relationships are no exception. Here’s the kicker: relationships require risk. They require us to give up everything we hold intrinsic to who we are and share them with the other person giving them the opportunity to reject us. Without any one of these, relationships are cheapened like a bad movie. In the end, we love the hero who risks it all and fights, winning over the course of much sweat and time. Dear friends, we have the opportunity of a lifetime to begin an end to this vicious cycle but it has to start with us. There is a great problem, but we could be the solution.