About a week ago, I was on my way to Barnes and Noble and was listening to the radio. My hubby always turns it to talk radio. That is not my preference, however I’m the type of person who is not able to walk and chew gum at the same time…so the idea of driving and changing the radio station could prove to be catastrophic. Anyway, this female deejay was talking about how everyone at the station was always on the road, and she said, “I pass us all the time.” She was referring to how she passes her coworkers on the interstate, but they seldom actually see each other face to face. That one sentence grabbed me. I couldn’t wait to pull into the parking lot and write it down. Why? It was something I wanted to mull over a bit more. I started thinking how we pass “us” all the time in life, not on such a physical realm but an emotional one. We pass one another all the time in our own households, on the phone, and even in eye to eye meetings. We often physically connect, but not emotionally. We might even share emotions at times such as when we cheer on one another or grieve together. We even often tell others we love them. But how often do we tell them WHY we love them and what they truly mean to us. Are we afraid of rejection? Do we fear we are sharing too much of ourselves?
What does living in relationship mean to you? Or does it depend on with whom or what this relationship exists? And then things get all complicated when they get categorized into casual relationships and personal relationships. And then you can stretch it farther into spiritual, community, and work. It can be never ending. I suppose to most people a relationship simply means a connection. It is true that we connect on many levels with all sorts of people.
To me, a relationship is not that simple. A relationship is not superficial. A relationship is not something I enter to see what I can get out of it, though I am often well rewarded in ways that are beyond explanation. I am the type of person that I have many acquaintances, but few actually move up to what I consider friend status. Call me snobby if you want. I call it honesty. Don’t get me wrong. I like people. In fact, there are very few people I dislike or am truly annoyed by…and those people are usually infected with narcissism. To me a friend (whether a relative or otherwise) is someone whom I share an emotional connection. To me, relationship is a two-way emotional connection, a partnership of sorts.
This is not to say (and it sounds as if I am contradicting myself but hear me out.) that I don’t have any superficial relationships. I have them within my own family. I have superficial relationships in what I consider my community. Superficial relationships are surface relationships. You don’t deal on a receptive and giving level. It’s the type of relationship we have with most of our “friends” on Facebook or other social networks. And there are times we must sever connections with those people as well. I don’t do well with people who constantly cause drama, feed off controversy, or I have absolutely nothing in common with. And at the same time, I have had deeper connections with people I have never met personally through writing. Sound crazy? A relationship involves being able to hear words that are not spoken aloud. Same thing goes with reading between the lines or read into the tone of the message. Not everyone is able to do this. Is it a gift? I think it is a connection…not in the physical sense but the emotional one. I have actually had people email me after a post and ask how I am because they sensed that I was hinting at something much more than what my words pointed out.
Have you ever known someone (maybe your spouse) that you can sit and “just be” with? Are you able to look across the room and catch that person’s eye and know what he is thinking or be able to finish one another’s sentences? Are you able to make decisions for them (if needed) and know that it is exactly what they would have chosen? I call this living in relationship at it‘s best. We can’t all have that same level of intimacy with everyone as time and distance prevents it. However, don’t you have friends with whom you share great passions and common interests? Don’t you have people with whom you share dreams and life? Of course, we all talk about the weather and gossip (whether or not you admit it) at times. But do you talk about what makes each of you tick? Some people are not comfortable talking about emotions; however, they experience them all the same. Do you take time to acknowledge feelings even when not spoken? Sometimes that acceptance can be acknowledged with a smile, a touch on the shoulder, or a hug. I think each of us on some level seeks validation from the world and our relationships within it. It is equally important to have relationship with yourself. If it doesn’t make sense to you, take some time to think about it. It takes reflection on one’s soul and one’s motives. It takes courage and honesty. You must trust and accept yourself in order to give and receive it. I believe we were created to live in relationship, to not only exist together, but to love and live in communication. You don’t just live in this space with those people you are in relationship with, but those people live in this space you open in your heart.