CREATED IN GOD’S IMAGE
A space. A gap. Distance. Separation. Connotations of individuality.
And if there is no space? Together. United. Joined. Communal. Connotations of embrace.
Unity is an ideal that we strive for but our lived reality too often tends towards individuality. Such is the human condition. We want community and to be united, but our independence asserts itself. We are made and pointed in the direction of unity; we drift off course and confuse unity with uniformity, and when that fails as it inevitably does, we go it alone.
Independence is not a bad thing. We are each, unique. Two people observe an event and remember it differently. Two people experience the same thing and each makes sense of it in their own way, according to their experience, and add it to their experience. Individuals, created with personality, develop and change. We grow and learn. This is the blueprint of our being and each print has God’s silhouette in it.
Yet independence must at some point, yield to inter-dependence. God is Trinity and Trinity is relationship. We are created in God’s image. We are created to live with each other and to support one another.
One of the markers of maturity is an ability to see beyond self-interest. Our limitation in our ability to do this is the cause of so much suffering that I think most of the ills of the world can be traced to it. When we selfishly use another person for our own gain, we adulterate our creation.
To bind and bond in a commitment, not forced, but willingly offered, and eagerly accepted, is only the beginning. A couple paint each other with the colour of their love and look to that colour even through darkness so black it’s weight is crushing is sometimes the only light in that darkness. Relationship is the “hanging-on” to that bond.
Commitment is not unlike an elastic band. Put two fingers through the band and open them. The space between the two widens, distance grows, separation increases. But the elastic still has something to say about it. It pulls the two fingers back together. It’s neither to the elastic’s fault nor credit — that’s what rubber bands do. Mature commitment to love is the same in that way. It’s neither love’s fault nor credit — that’s what love does.
Sadly, elastics can dry up and lose their stretch — they break; and relationships can break as well. It is possible to keep the relationship alive. The poultice of protection guards each from the hurts of this world, and when the hurt creeps in, the balm of caring and the ointment of sacrifice sooth the inevitable bruises. The incense of tenderness fragrances its growth, and the relief of compassion and the restoration of simple stillness and quiet in each other’s presence heals and mends. And most importantly, it needs the strength and flexibility of two individuals giving way to each other, of not always having to win because in order to win, another needs to lose, in order to be first, someone needs to come second.
It is intended to be neither drudgery nor slavery, and resentment has no place in it. It takes an investment of effort in order to be able to draw on the dividends of relationship.
It takes maturity. The problem too often seems to be that change is certain; maturity, elusive
The end is worth the effort. It is how we are created, and what we are created for.
God created us in God’s image.