Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Professional Distance

Maybe I'm not up for being a victim of love when all my resistance can never be distance enough.
-Anna Nalick

There is a message that I seem to be receiving a lot lately. It's ugly, and hurtful, and I want to believe that it's not true, but I keep hearing it. The actions of others in and around my life keep confirming it. And that is really hard to fight. How are we supposed to live from the truth, when the lies seem to be the truest thing about us?

The message centers around one thing- distance. And it comes in many forms and fashions. People prefer you at a distance. You are safer if you keep your distance from others. Something in you is "too much" for others, and you must stay away in order to keep from overwhelming them. There is something ugly and dangerous in you and if you allow others to come close enough, they will get hurt. And the worst one of all...The people around you can sense all of this in you, and they know to stay away. No one will ever be foolish enough to come all the way in, and you will always be alone. Yes, this message expresses itself in many ways, but all with the same result. I feel compelled to draw into myself, to hide away from others.

This idea both infuriates and defeats me. On one hand I just want to rage. I want to lash out at the author of these lies. I want to flagellate myself for my inability to stand against them, for the weakness that allows me to give them any kind of weight in my life. I'm also enraged at the people who make it so easy for me to believe. The people who are content with shallow, superficial conversation. The countless thousands who walk this earth without any desire or intention to scratch beneath the surface of either themselves or others. I despise these people!

On the other hand, I am so utterly tired and hurt and confused that I just want to lay down and sleep for a very long time. It seems a pointless battle and a waste of time and I often truly believe that it won't get me anywhere. What's the solution? To keep foisting myself on others who aren't interested? To cut those people out of my life completely? Focus only on those few, brave souls who are willing to search and reach? I don't know. I don't seem to have answers to any questions today.

I know that this is a not a new struggle. This message has battered me for most of my life. So much so, that my defense were impenetrable. I became so good at keeping my distance that it was second nature to me. But I was brittle, and hard, and lonely, and I know I don't want to be there again. It's just....How do we know? How can we determine who is trustworthy and who isn't? How do we distinguish between those who want to know and to see and who will be gentle with our hearts, versus those who only want to know that they can get in, if they choose to?

Lord, I know that you place these longings in our hearts for a reason. The desire for fellowship, for community, the intense wanting to be truly known- none of these are arbitrary. You created us with that, and for that. Why then, did You make it so hard? Why, so painful? It seems like a lose/lose. We either shut people out, keep our distance, and suffer silently and alone, or we let people in, give them access to those most tender places, and then have huge chunks of our hearts ripped out at random. What's more painful? To keep someone out, or to invite them in, and have them walk away instead?

1 comment:

  1. you write beautifully. as a writer myself, i can definitely appreciate someone with your talent. hope you're doing well.