Monday, December 18, 2006

degrees of separation

In my humble opinion, hell is the state of separation. Well, scripture basically makes the same point (human beings separated from God), so I guess it's not only my opinion. I get crazy when I feel I've hurt someone and can't make it right. My mother's death in the 70's shaped my entire adult life-the pain of that separation kept me continually calling out to God and trying to work through my own feelings here on earth without her. My son's absence shapes every day by default. It's not what I can do, it's what I can't because he's not here. More than one significant friendship is long distance, and sometimes words are misconstrued or the body language necessary to drive home a point the way you want to is lacking. So many things separate people-language barriers, economic barriers, cultural barriers, age, education, experience. Now this can be a means to know someone, but too often it is a way to keep people on one side of the tracks or another.

What I'm needing to learn these days, however, is some separation is good. In fact, separation is built into the human experience. With e-mail and IM-ing we can have instant communication gratification, but that doesn't address true separation. Unhealthy separation stems from insecurity and anxiety, lack of trust and faith. If the pain of separation is driven by these emotions, something is wrong that connection will not fix. We can't have another human being with us 24/7, nor should we expect human relationships to be our answer to life's difficulties and struggles. It has taken me years to understand this. I want the arms of flesh around me making it right. I want the access to a body to express myself or control the relationship, and this is just impossible oftentimes. Nor is it right motive to need someone like that.

I have had to realize that it is not wrong to place certain relationships in the context of their importance to me, or the response that I receive. My son is important to me because he's my son, but my relationships with my other children are equally, if not more important and immediate because they are here, and they did nothing wrong. My relationship to God, and to my husband each are exclusive. I can have no other God, or no other man who functions in those roles. Friendships are trickier. I can have many of those, but what I'm realizing is my strength is limited, and some relationships are like flypaper to me. I'm too drawn into situations that I can't do anything about. In these cases I need to separate myself and keep my responses to a minimum. It is not fact, it is necessary to have rules of engagement, as in combat. We are created to need people in our lives. But lately I've realized how much more I need God to help me sort through the varied emotions and motives of why I engage people the way I do. Real love sees the whole picture and either engages, or removes itself for the good of all concerned. Tough lessons to learn.


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