Relational conundrums

Relational conundrums

Renee EllisonDec 25, '22

Whenever we commit to someone, be it our spouse via getting married, or our children via entering into adoptions or birthings (one never knows what kinds of personalities/challenges, will come "out" of either) and/or our commitment to eldercare, it guarantees that we will become entangled with a person very unlike ourselves.  It is inevitable that, being glued at the hip by the commitment, we will do some very deep tangoing with another human psyche.  Their humanity will become bread that we eat, and vice versa.

To understand where these relational dynamics take us, in God's infinite wisdom and plan, first, let us not forget that we, ourselves have been or will be these things, to someone else.  We were someone else's child, we are someone else's spouse, and we will be the recipient of someone else's eldercare.  Commitment and deep interpersonal dynamics are here to stay.  They, apparently are the warp and woof of life.  The alternative?  Isolation.  Living like a loose electron, orbiting and orbiting and orbiting.  C. S. Lewis said the only alternative to love is self...and hell, no doubt has a chamber of unbridled self.... "endless self."

Commitment is a fast train to some sort of strange and awesome and otherworldly fellowship with the divine being, for we now relate as He has related: completely, thoroughly, inexhaustibly--He for eternity, we, in microcosm on this earth, usually or sometimes for 80-plus years.  Through it all we begin to experience that suffering AND "coming to life" take place in us simultaneously via the pairing of psyches in multiple directions with multiple "for life" relationships.  Apparently, only in this venue--the relational yoke--do we get re-made.

Look what happens with marriage: after the rice falls and the tiny, tinkling, ethereal lights are unplugged, and a child is born or adopted, one immediately enters into a jungle of a sense of loss of control, because no matter who that spouse is, they will parent differently that we do.  And what is even more jarring is to discover that they will even love us differently than we ever imagined.  You love THIS way?  I couldn't have even thought it up.  Unbeknownst to us, paradoxically,  the spouse thinks the same about the other parent.  And here we are, committed.  Even if we could walk away from the marriage, there is no walking away from the offspring.  They now exist.  These sorts of unexpected relational perplexities are only the beginning--life becomes far more complex as we all progress.  The relational forays and subtleties only deepen in all directions and never seem to end.

Hold on.  Since an emerging awareness of how relationships actually work (i.e., that they are unmanageable and minimally influenceable) happens to all of us.  Could we have uncovered divine intent here, at the foot of this perplexity?

As believers, look where do we go with our loss of control.  We dart quickly to the bosom of God, to be UN-lost in Him.  He becomes for us a riveting fixation.  We MUST pray, because "I MUST make life fit into MY box" doesn't seem to work.  Could it be that the commitment of life-time relationships, tear us open, and spill us out into suppleness?

As we mature, do we not find that our private (and overt) tantrums turn into relinquishments, in each and every chapter?  We find that our supreme solace must be to "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5).  Something bigger than "us" is here.  We cannot explain it all; our rationality is a limited tool for dissecting this sort of conundrum.

"Cramming my story into MY box" turns into "wandering around in HIS box" and saying OK, make of me what you will and lead me where you will."  I couldn't possibly "get it" (what you are doing,  or where we are going) and I'm, at last, okay with that.  I am learning--and have learned--to trust you.  I'm even beginning to understand the word "trust," which was at best a foreign country to me at first.  Most high schoolers live in the land of complete control.

From that relinquished posture what is this that I now see?  Lo and behold--as we die we “even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22).  Fellowship with Him apparently meant feeling with Him with each and every psyche all around us.  All sorts of  nooks and crannies of suffering, in fact, were shared.  As a result, every sprig of new life in us, noticed by Him, evoked by Him, dressed of Him, made for Him.  Relationship, then, must be a kind of divine gift--no matter how bumpy it may seem, authored by divine intent, made to be sons of god, though yet to be revealed" (Romans 8:14)—divine people, fit to be buried deep within the Trinity, and there we will consort with Him forever.

[By the way, considering the subject and the timing of this post, you may want to read our e-Book, Why We Got off the Christmas Bandwagon.]

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