Art / Faith / Opinion

What Are We So Afraid Of?

Last Semester, I had the terrible honor of speaking at my late Grandma’s funeral. One of the hardest weeks of my life, as I had to compose my eulogy for the wonderful woman who died. It was a sobering time and one of much mental reflection. Life is so precious and truly a gift to be alive. Chesterton writes, “The most dangerous thing is to be alive.” He’s right.

Yet, we find ourselves doing the exact opposite. Rather than being alive, we hide and find ourselves like statues in a garden where life is all around us. Alone, stoic, and immobile we watch other former statues walking in life and condemn them for their licentious nature of participating in the world around them. We are so afraid of entering into any risk of being seen for who we are. However, it’s safer in stone. At least stone can’t be pierced.

Fair. Stone cannot be pierced, it is rough, hard, and cold. Stone rarely cracks when words are tossed at it and truly it takes a force to be able to penetrate and crack it. Stone in and of itself is good, God created it and as a part of creation retains its goodness when left to be stone. I wasn’t aware humans were meant to be cold, rough, and irredeemable though.

Don’t ever be seen or known but know in that palace of stone that you’ve constructed is completely impenetrable, no one will ever touch you or love you. All you’ll know is coldness and soon you’ll become cold too. The sands of time shall pass and the coldness will overwhelm your heart and there it will lie, dead and lifeless surrounded by the coldness of its once beating ticks and the room it’s been hidden in for so long.

To echo the poet Hopkins, “I say more!” There has to be more than the emptiness of the broken heart. There has to be more in a relationship than mere platitudes and empty flirtations. Why spend all of our time looking for what is wrong in the relationship? Will that not only bring an end to every relationship, but also leave one seeking more? What about seeking to see what is right with it? I am by no means condoning staying in toxic or abusive relationships, there is a difference between those horrible atrocities and the condition of being a broken human still being redeemed and molded by Christ.

This is where we have abandoned any semblance of attempting any risk. We sacrifice the painstaking, tense fulfilling waiting for the quick, unsatisfying, easy moment. We no longer are willing to fail, get up, and go again with someone. We’d rather hold bitter grudges where there’s no room for Christ. Sad that those who call themselves Christians abandon one another quicker than you can say hookup.

It is up to us as Kat Rosenfield says in her article “The death of Intimacy” that we who would rather weather a good old-fashioned heartbreak and be sorry than safe, ought to risk it for something truly intimate. Otherwise, we’ll stand on our podiums within the garden, never truly experiencing the life of relationship that God has for us.

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