Sunday, 7 September
Good Morning Jessicca…
Who is it that next walks through your door to greet you? There’s always a greeting of some sort to acknowledge the renewed acquaintanceship. “Long time no see” serves the purpose even though your last conversation together may have been a mere few hours ago. It’s a ritual introducing a new episode to your on-going relationship as friends. It also serves to quickly acclimate us with the nature of our interaction.
A simple “Hello” may suit the moment. It’s concise so the nature of its meaning depends on the manner of its delivery. A smiling exuberant “Hello!” provides an outburst of warmth that is shorthand for saying something like, “Boy, am I glad to see you. It has been entirely too long since we last met.” A quiet “Hello” accompanied by a small smile makes for a greeting reserved for someone you’re maybe meeting for the first time. There’s a potential for friendship here but this preface to conversation may only be a polite gesture preceding a matter of business. You’re each putting a human face on an interaction that is possibly as impersonal as the signing of legal documents regarding a transaction. If the encounter has gone smoothly you can gratefully punctuate the end of the matter with a handshake and the comment, “It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.” The sentiment is genuine but you are relieved the event has concluded and you move on to other interests of your day unconcerned that you may never see this individual ever again. A matter of necessity had brought you together. Now that it is completed you each wish the other well while preferring your lives to move in separate circles.
Were you to greet an old friend with a similarly reserved “Hello” it is likely to indicate there is a problem between the two of you that needs to be resolved. Possibly it is nothing more than a small misunderstanding having occurred the previous evening or maybe it was an unintended slight due to ill temper from lack of sleep or being plagued by worry. The recipient of this unexpected cool greeting knows something is amiss, possibly a friction in the relationship needs mending. If the friendship is strong and vital to both then the matter can be forthrightly addressed. What follows may include an apology, an expression of relief, some laughter and the both of you quickly move on to happier moments. On the other hand, the problem may be but one in a series of incidents that has brought grief between these friends. Instead of a quick resolution of the matter there is a wary circling of the issue. In place of owning up to one’s own complicity in the problem there is an airing of recrimination. Antagonisms mount. A larger more substantive threat to the friendship has been unveiled. There is mutual shock at this revelation. What is to be done? The encounter ends with words of anger and alarm. The visiting party flees the presence of the other. The two injured friends separately search out other friendships, seeking validation. How dreadful this other person has revealed themselves to be. Where once there was comfort and joy now there is a cold, painful void. What once had charm is now irredeemably wretched.
Oh, what suffering there is that comes from bad blood. We are daily confronted with these broken shards. Only time can mend the hurt. What comes of the friendship is uncertain. Possibly the two friends arrive at a more realistic appraisal of the other as a human being and their bond is strengthened by a more accepting appreciation of the other’s incorrigible traits. This period of absence has reinforced one’s sense of need for the other. How foolish and inconsequential the dispute now seems. The words of greeting introducing this reconciliation are of small note. Most any words will do. One’s meaning and contrition is found in their voice. Serenity is gratefully embraced, at least for the moment.
Otherwise, we move on. The friendship becomes a chapter receding from view by the accumulating time, ever fading in its importance to our daily life. There are lessons to be learned about ourselves and our dealings with others if only we care to revisit the iconic moments of this relationship. Knowing our own failings doesn’t mean we don’t continue to repeat them. There are some behaviors too ingrained in our being to ever be completely relieved. We hope to encounter others who may well develop a taste for our own peculiar emotional vintage. Imperfections in modest amounts are the spices that provide zest to character.
Who can love pure goodness? It’s obnoxious. The root attraction to Jesus undoubtedly lies in his humanity. He exhibits at various moments fear, anger, love... most likely hate. He suffers all the irritations and indignities of a biological existence among men and vermin in a parched land. These are all matters removed from the experience of the creator of the universe. Love God the Creator? Not likely. Give me Jesus on the cross. He understood us. He knew the attraction and comfort man found in woman. He knew the rewards and pain of human relationships. All our interactions contribute to a fabric loomed by humanity. It is this we can love.