Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Reflections on relationship (one topic among millions)

Why do our closest friends and family get taken for granted, when we put on our best for everyone else?

It's a question I've wrestled with on and off since childhood, and never been able to fully find an answer to, and so it's been asked in this little brain of mine, and then re-shelved, countless times.

Where does the balance lie between familiarity, comfortableness, and closeness in a friendship, and caring enough about a person to give them our best at all times, even when they don't ask for it? Between being used to them being around enough to start taking them, their presence, and their caring and love for granted, and caring and loving enough to offer ourselves, our time, our presence, even when they don't ask for it? Because maybe they don't ask for it because they know us well enough to know we value our private time, or they don't want to be a burden, or impose another item into our schedules, because they know we're busy enough as it is.

So who is it that gets our best behavior? Is it the people we happen to cross paths with every now and again, at the store, on the street? Or is it our nearest, dearest, and those closest to us?
And which of those groups then gets taken for granted, not hated but ignored (maybe not ignored even, just unnoticed, or even just unappreciated)? Why does familiarity breed contempt sometimes, if you'll forgive the triteness?

Is it because we know they love us, care for us, and give us their attention and approval regardless, and so we're comfortable just being ourselves, not putting on a face, a front, trying to seem polite, friendly, make a good impression? That's valid. It's important to have relationships close enough to be real in, to be candid in, to be grumpy in sometimes. Perhaps even they're our close friends because the relationship is that comfortable, that unconditionally loving.
But where is the line between being close/comfortable, and not sharing our best with them as well? And why do we feel we must put our best forward with strangers all the time, and with our loved ones only some of the time?

That's not to say we shouldn't be nice, friendly, loving people towards those we don't know/know well. And it's not to say that we shouldn't ever "let our hair down" with our closest. It's just to question where the priorities are, where perhaps they should be, and what that may look like.

Because we would, of course, go out of our way, do anything, for our loved ones, probably without even feeling imposed upon, if they'd ask. Strangers ask all the time for things that impose upon us, and we're fine giving of our time, our selves, our lives.
But the fact that they are our closest, our loved, our friends, means they know what that costs us, what it takes to add something else to our schedules, our brains, our lives, and they know how burdened those things are already, precisely because they're close to us, and so precisely because they're close to us, they don't ask.

So maybe what it looks like to give our best for our friends is to know what it costs them when we don't add them to our schedules, our brains, our lives, despite how burdened those things are already, and to add them anyway, without being asked. And to know them well enough to know when asking is going to feed back into our friends, even when they are truly busy, burdened, and full already, but wont stop on their own, and so to put aside feelings of imposing, and ask of them anyway, not of our own need, but of theirs, or both.

These thoughts are very much jumbled, very much raw/unedited/unorganized, very much a conglomeration of various thoughts over the years, very much a treacherous maze of pronouns, and very much a part of a bigger journey I've recently realized I'm on, to discover/define/understand what it means to be a person who lives, loves and relates deeply, to constantly and consciously be laying down my life for my friends, because greater love has no man than that, and I think that goes far far beyond being willing to give up one's life for his friends. I think it also means being willing to give of one's life, to share it, and give it to his friends.

No fingers are pointed, save at myself, and quite frequently at that. And no conclusions have been drawn, precisely for the purpose of inviting discussion, added thoughts, comments, questions, or snide remarks.

1 comment:

Leah said...

Beautiful...I needed this reminder.