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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Best and Worst of Love


We go to amazing lengths for the advancement of love. It takes us to the heights and majesty of grace, in machinations of bliss—to be wanted, accepted, even desired—yet it also takes us plummeting toward the unprecedented abyss.


Love cavorts with the reasonable mind, shaping and influencing its perception, even making a mockery of logic or taking us high above such sense. There is such potential with love; to make us or to ruin us.


Making The Best Of Love


Our vision, no doubt, is to make the best of love; to make the very best of our chances to find it, to love someone abundantly as we would have them love us just as abundantly. Still, the vision gets us into a mess all too often, for love is so much child’s play.


Romantic nuances are not only the best of love they also bring love to its knees. The infatuated advance, veiled in a cause more noble, with the best of us on display, commences love on what looks to be the right foot; but interaction couched in deceit tends to end badly. We still don’t learn. We intuitively put our best foot forward, so we’ll have the best chance of winning love, for losing is unconscionable.


In the early days of love it appears this way; that we cover for our known negative habits, prejudiced views, and eccentricities. So does our partner.


Perhaps this is an acceptable phenomenon—love may not get to first or second base otherwise.


Then, The Hard Work Begins


Love always eventuates in hard work. Love may not actually be love devoid of the hard work that inspires good feeling in partners. When love lands, having enjoyed its brief flight of romantic fancy, the hard work begins—making something tangible out of this partnership.


Then, as so often occurs, love ends badly. A partner is rejected and, therefore, hurt. There is betrayal and licence for one or both to seek for their happiness; one or both are jilted—most often one. Such damage creates even more damage as the hurt partner may go to extraordinary lengths to exact revenge; property is damaged and lives are threatened or, worse, in the extreme, taken. All this for love.


Then, moreover, there is the couple who commenced relations honestly poised, with correct bearing, and with hopes that were as realistically placed as they could be. There is no guarantee they will last; but they have given themselves the best chance.


***


Love brings out our best and worst. The best is couched in honesty, advancing trust and respect. The worst is characterised by deceit and it’s a warning for betrayal. In love we best lead lightly, cautiously treading, caring uniquely for the both of us.


© 2012 S. J. Wickham.



Monday, January 30, 2012

Finding Time To Reflect


It proves difficult for most of us, sown deeply into our lives, managing our relationships, busy doing the doing, to find the time to reflect—to redeem the peace that is eternally available. Indeed, we can even begin to entertain the belief that such a peace might be unattainable for us ever again.


So many of us are hemmed-in within our lives in this way.


Finding time to reflect is making time to do something that doesn’t, at this time, promise repayment, but inevitably will. Not only is there an enjoyable memoir journalled, perhaps, but the peace of fascination about life that runs away from us if we let it.


So, maybe, we come from a position estranged to peace but we seek a position home in peace. And we know finding time to reflect, and developing the habit, is vital to the restoration of our soul’s tranquillity.


What Might Help


Finding time to reflect is a practical exercise, but it will involve some tough decisions and the wisdom of self-discipline. Some of the following might feed our consideration:


1. How well do we know ourselves? Finding the time to reflect is no linear fact—like ‘find one hour per day’ to do it. As there are billions of different people on this planet, there are equally billions of unique ways of finding time to reflect. Some need set times; others, on the contrary, find the time to reflect in a solitary moment—neither is right nor wrong, but hopefully right for the individual in question.


2. We cannot be, to the people we love, a loving person if we are moody and disconsolate much of the time, due to haggard schedules and the serving of everyone else’s needs to the detriment of our own. No truly loving person neglects their self-care; it is not another’s responsibility to provide for our well-being—it’s ours. This must be our motivation: to ensure we serve out of rest—that portion of Sabbath rest we all need. We cannot love in the right heart and mind without feeling sufficiently rested.


3. Sometimes math doesn’t work. Ever done the sums regarding your time and always come up short? We will always come up short. It is better to consider the need to reflect, to find a moment’s space in the fashion of everyday life, as a big enough priority to be considered first, like sleep, exercise, and spiritual devotion. When we begin to place life-giving activities first, hope indwells our lives from the inside out; our impacts are more characteristically positive, more generous, more gracious, more loving. Suddenly we realise; we have found the time to reflect.


***


Peace is an eternal constant, not a mirage. It stands there willingly to be held, but it requires a choice. Do we choose to step forward toward it? Taking the step, with courage and wisdom, amounts to blessing.


Peace is closer, today, if you want it.


© 2012 S. J. Wickham.


Graphic Credit: by Trifle.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Enjoying the Vital Freedoms of Marriage


A tenuous balance known to love affords the space that marital partners enjoy in living life together, as an intimate couple, as well as having their separate lives.


Such a balance is crucial for marital survival and, indeed, growth.


The best of marriage might be seen as a living arrangement where two people subsist together, and separately, as if they were happily alone. In other words, there is no trifling conflict, nor signs of ongoing distance that either or both find unacceptable. No marriage is without some of these, or even seasons characterised by these.


When Freedoms Are Conditional Or, Worse, Withheld


People who have grown up accustomed to their freedom, those from families-of-origin that majored on the extension of liberty and trust, expect those conditions to prevail in their marriages. Likewise, many who grew up within quite dysfunctional family structures have experience of little else, though some have decided they want this bondage no more; they are prepared to live their freedom and extend it to their partner, too.


So, what we have is people putting a price on their freedom, within the context of marriage; some will demand, in assertive ways, that bilateral freedom is to reign; others, in more aggressive ways, will insist on the retention of control, forcing submission from their partners.


When freedoms are conditional or, worse, withheld, not only will relational joy disappear, with trust abandoning ship also, but there will be the urge within the partner controlled to break free—to make inroads to freedom.


Both the perpetrator of control and the controlled partner are on a slippery slide that destines their marriage on a bumpy, uncertain voyage toward the rocks.


Instituting Assertiveness


The only effective way of restoring balance in a relationship with an aggressive partner, one who’s passive in their aggression or otherwise, is by instituting assertiveness.


This is done by taking courage within marital communications and ensuring good rein is kept over the emotions. We need to be truthful regarding the things we communicate, by communicating as directly as we can, ensuring respect cuts both ways and their needs are elevated to the same level as we expect ours to be. This necessitates communicating with the emotions checked; where threats are minimised; where the adult mind holds sway.


The assertive approach understands and advocates the vitality of freedom within marriage. It asserts that such a freedom should prevail to each other’s mutual liking.


When we love we want freedom for the other person.


***


Extending freedom to our marital partners is vital to the health and life of the marriage. Equally important is ensuring control has sensible boundaries. When freedom and control coexist harmoniously, trust is enhanced and love has won the day; both partners are happy.


© 2012 S. J. Wickham.



Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sowing Seeds of Love In Faith


Don’t underestimate the value of small things said and done. Everyone has the ability and motive to reflect—it is spiritual osmosis: to search deeper. Sowing seeds in love, in tolerance, in patience, all in faith, enlarges the capacity for remembrance.


Making a difference in real lives is done in small, albeit never insignificant ways.


Sowing Seeds By Thoughtful Action


In every interaction there’s the potential for differences to be made—those of others on us or those of us on others.


Spiritual encouragement is known by little words and suggestions planted that may germinate, by the Spirit of God. Later, as a fact of the Spirit’s sponsored awareness, that seeded thought goes to work within the mind and heart of the recipient. Working the angles of the psyche, influence is determined as it is later revealed.


Being positioned to sow the seed of God requires being positioned to receive Divine revelation. As the Spirit whispers, in the midst of our interactions, we are lovingly advised, even prompted, to strengthen and encourage and urge people on; especially quietly with little nudges of other-centred support.


Seeing The Movement Of God In Responses Of People


Being in receipt of God’s revelation, and issuing our words and actions of support, we are enabled to also see the majestic grace of God as it moves through people’s lives, and life in general.


Seeing these things compels us to continue sowing, knowing that we are divine actors complying with eternal direction; such a Divinity does not need us, per se, but will use us if we accede as vessels of the Almighty.


Perhaps there is no finer treat for the servant of God than bearing witness to the flow of divine power and grace as it moves through life.


Warnings Against Manipulation


Sown seeds only act toward godly ends when they are sown in faith, not by some warped imagining of manipulation exemplified in passive aggressive behaviour. Such manipulation is coercion through the means of stealth and it always leaves a despicable, unspoken mark on the interaction.


Very simply, don’t be known for intimidating people toward ends that are not entirely their choice—there is no faith exercised in manipulation, only self-motivated gain.


The key difference in sowing seeds in faith is genuine thought for the complete well-being of the other person—in other words, love is the gently abiding motivation.


***


We were put here to help. As people who can think, talk, listen, and act we have so many ways of sowing positive seeds that may later make differences in others’ lives.


© 2012 S. J. Wickham.



Friday, January 27, 2012

Expecting and Surviving Disagreement


There are some relational situations—with family, friends, or colleagues, even acquaintances—where, no matter how much we try and convince them regarding our sensibly reasoned rationale, it will not be acceptable to them.


Yet, though it remains unresolved, it’s not necessarily a problematic conflict.


It will only prove problematic when either they persist in trying to change our rationale for us or we insist on achieving their agreement or approval.


Many relational situations can remain happily in tension, given a sense of resilient grit that’s home to poise. This sense of grit starts in one and can become, eventually, the outlook of the other.


When Agreement May Be Too Much To Expect


In a less than a perfect world, the only way we may harmoniously live with each other is by, as the old saying goes, agreeing to disagree—us to them and them to us.


Disagreeable situations are not necessarily bad for them or us, unless we or they find such situations untenable—then there has to be conflict. Conflict in these circumstances is not a bad thing, for it brings parties to the negotiating table; however messy such negotiations, at times, play out.


We or they are being unreasonable when we or they expect everything to be to the peaceable liking of all parties, or even most. It has to be a rare outcome.


***


Then, the last thing we need in circumstances of varying disagreement is triangulation—when we or they take the grievances elsewhere; places they’ll neither be solved nor advanced in any way.


Avoiding The Folly Of Triangulation


Disagreements are always best kept between the parties concerned; any virulent extension to the field of debate is fraught with danger and wisdom is advised.


Triangulation occurs when we involve externals and those externals get back to the person we’re in conflict with. As a result, trust is dissolved. When intimacy is thrown to the dogs it is not quickly healed or redeemed.


Avoid involving others unless they’re prepared to help both parties, objectively, as will be seen by both parties, toward resolution.


Gathering Acceptance In Disagreement


Accepting something we cannot change is easier than we think.


Where we have no choice, and no options are presented, our thinking becomes never easier. In maturity, we humbly accept. We see them and us polarised by our own unique perspectives—those that God, alone, has given us; if we can accept each is trying their best to live for good purposes.


As we go out into our days, we ought to anticipate, even expect, disagreement.


These disagreements do not characterise enemies at battle, but mainly people passionate and concerned about life and the living of it. Holding our view is only one portion of God’s truth, for we miss so much of the complete picture.


Trying to understand another’s viewpoint is really saying to God, “Lord, give me more perspective here.”


***


All relationships can be enjoyed more when we accept disagreement: a freedom both issued and received because grace is made manifest in a love beyond selfish design.


© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nurturing the Voice of Compassion


“Children, even infants, are capable of sympathy. But only after adolescence are we capable of compassion.”


~Louise J. Kaplan


Trickling within the soul, as a silently meandering stream, is the capacity—a Voice—of communal reason; the sense of empathy where thought is spared for another person; where their shoes, just for a moment, fit our feet.


Compassion, it is true, it found welling from the soul of those who have suffered a little (or a lot); those who have endured, and surpassed, a philosophical adolescence.


That nuance of compassion, though, provident of our endurance, is limited to our experience—there must be so much more compassion available for acquisition. Our God of compassion—Jesus, no less—has it in copious quantity; the Living Water, the well of which, cannot be plumbed.


Operating in this way, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit that Jesus has sent from the Father, is the Voice of Compassion. It is availed to us according to our investment in developing it—the ability to hear the Spirit in the motions of life.


The Gift Of Blessing


The Lord affords us the precious acquisition of that which we make the most important.


This is the ability to focus—unfortunately, it’s become an overused term.


This gift of blessing—to choose the direction of our focus—is best wisely chosen; if we choose to venture toward the development of the Voice of Compassion there will be vast personal and interpersonal flow-on blessings. The most commanding of these is manifest personally.


Compassion – The Elixir For Selfish Traits


Pushing down selfish traits, like self-pity, narcissism, covetousness, and pleasure-seeking, is most effectually accomplished through the nurture of this Voice of Compassion.


The willingness to focus on others is a selfsame willingness not to focus on the self.


Every honest person that enthusiastically treks on their spiritual journey must, with regular cognisance, have encountered the predilection to selfishness. Compassion is a powerful tool taking us the other way.


The Voice of Compassion is hearing the words of God as opposed to the words of the flesh. It is a widened sphere of concern.


Compassion – The Kindness Of Persistent Mercy


God’s merciful compassion is exemplified in perhaps no better way than by persistence—it never gives up. And as God continues to forgive us evermore, by the shimmering grace of redemption’s seed, we also are to nurture compassion that has no end. (Let’s not confuse this, though, with na├»ve trust—compassion is not about lining up to get hurt.)


The kindness of persistent mercy listens to an abundant Voice beyond itself. Hurt does not prevail; instead, it prefers to see the hurt behind the hurt.


How much better it is to sidestep hurt by simply finding the hurt that originated the hurt in the first place. So much anger is motivated by unreconciled hurt below the consciousness. Hence, our compassion feels for that distance of intimacy an angry person has with themselves. How could we be hurt when we know we are not the real source of their anger?


The kindness of persistent mercy—a beautiful part-definition of true compassion—is sown realms above the hurt in humanity. It values the sight and objectivity of the Lord.


***


Everyone needs compassion. Obeying God is listening for, nurturing within, and obeying, the Voice of Compassion.


© 2012 S. J. Wickham.



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Building the Storehouse of Love



All through life there are experiences—of varying milieus, magnitudes, and meaning. To each of these belongs a particular response of love: to appease, to accept, to take courage, to belong, to take leave of absence, the lead, etc.


The trouble is we don’t have all these loving responses in play when we need them.


Sometimes they need to be developed from experience; this is when life is likened to hell—when confusion, as to the appropriate response required, reigns.


The Corpus Of Grace


It takes much grace to accept this—that not all our appropriate responses (borne, otherwise, on wisdom) form just-in-time.


Sometimes given situations warrant agony because we’re perplexed to the way through. Enters does anxiety—always for inexplicable reasons. The only helpful answer to such anxiety is the grace to calmly work on the problem—however it’s discerned—and to keep calmly focused on improving things. Sooner or later things improve.


Panic won’t help, nor will getting bogged down in the sort of morbid acceptance that glories in such a trough.


The corpus of grace is all-sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9) whether we feel equipped or not. Our weakness is testimony of God’s strength.


Simply knowing that trials find us ill-equipped is confidence that the storehouse of loving responses has need of further fortification. And knowing trials where we feel equipped—in the quietness of serene faith—even when life is far from perfect—is a majestically stoic confidence; we have what we need to endure; a bridge to a better land, we have.


The Storehouse Of Divine Capability


The title of this article could, in some ways, be misleading—our capabilities for stowage are not for ‘loving’ more or better.


They are for Divine access—God is love. To understand life, to cope, and to win, requires access to love—to match our responses with the prevailing situations (again, we call this wisdom).


Love at its perfection utilises such wisdom nonchalantly and to deferent effect.


So, this storehouse of Divine capability is full when we have the set of behavioural responses required to fit the presenting situations. It is a storehouse of love because we’re able to love, or respond appropriately.


It’s okay to feel we’re not there yet. This storehouse in view is unlimited in its capacity, just as the scope of experiences we’re exposed to is unlimited.


All we can hope to do is build our capability. With experience we do.


***


Responding well in life is principally reliant on the mode of love. Building our storehouses of love is about developing appropriate responses and learning from our inappropriate responses, all the while having the grace to accept our present best.


© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Internet Safety – Scam, Con Alert


I recall as a child keenly looking through the letterbox in the hope for a letter addressed to me; for some meaningful correspondence that might satisfy my yearning for connection. That same need continues in me today; I’d venture to say most reading this now have that same yearning—to be found special enough to others that they would want to connect.


And this innate motivation, one that’s possibly not identified at the level of our awareness, is one precise detail that scams and confidence tricksters play on.


Ever been promised a spot on the Who’s Who of Whatever? Flattery and compliments-beyond-reason are the key ploy—then, wait for it, comes the request for personal information: an e-mail address, phone number, postal address, etc... Any detail about us that transforms that ‘foot in the door’ (the flattering remark) into the ‘deal’ they really have in mind.


Deceit is the modus operandi and cooling off periods are off the agenda.


Like odds of winning at a casino, this is a game where there is only one winner—it’s not going to be us.


Being Wary Without Losing The Purity Of Our Trust


Whilst there are many in this world who would fleece us quicker than look at us, there are many more we can actually trust. Discerning who to trust, and when, is the key.


Those we can trust don’t need our information—they come with little on the agenda, and they are not manipulative. By this is meant, coercion is not the method used in interaction.


Any sense of coercion or manipulation, by anyone, even by family, should be as an alarm bell to us to watch out; to be alert for the trampling of our needs and the elevating of theirs, usually by stealth.


Those who we can trust end in a way in which they have started—friendliness is couched in complete transparency with no sign of coercion or soliciting of personal details. There is no issue on the agenda. But inevitably, we will need to unreel our trust a bit at a time.


***


Social media provides much more opportunity for scam tricksters to enter our lives. Their methods vary, but watch for unsolicited mail, flattering remarks and offers, unreal deals and, worst of all, sly requests for our personal information. We ought to be suspicious regarding anyone we don’t personally know, especially when they offer something “too good to refuse.”


© 2012 S. J. Wickham.



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Capability Is Confidence


Having done something once, or many times, is enough reason to have faith it can be done again and again.


It bears repeating: having proven ourselves capable we can do this thing, again.


The truth of human experience in many situations, however, is that polarising doubt brings us to our knees in uncharitable fear. Such imaginings get the better of us in every walk of life; the emotive power within is contorted toward paralysis.


These dramatic imaginings, those very ones that occur without thought, dash many of our simplest hopes—even affecting the basic tasks of life: job interviews, operating machines, speaking in public, the ability to travel, to mix in certain social settings etc.


What we are robbed of is the confidence we ought to have in our capability.


Getting Down To Fundamental Mechanics


The science of capability is down to the skill to do a thing a certain way with the reliable portion of consistency—not perfect every time, but generally good enough.


Skill is not a perfect thing. There is margin for error. Forgivable lapses are plentiful in life and no capability is defined by perfection. Yet, we complicate the things we do—those we shrink in doubt for—because our minds have honed in on the sleek shades of darkness within minute parts of these tasks, forgetting most of it is done with ease.


When we have doubts our focus has shifted onto the 1-5% we aren’t sure of.


We too easily forget the fundamental mechanics have already been mastered; it is only the small stuff we sweat over. Yet, logic tells us not to sweat the small stuff; our hearts require further convincing, though. Irrational fear is our evidence.


When we get down to the fundamentals, fixing our minds on the basics, recalling how well we did them, our doubting diminishes.


Resting In Fact


Our capability is our confidence.


Why would we reasonably doubt our ability to do something we have already done? Why would we not now be even more capable, given that we are older, wiser, and more experienced?


Sure, we may lack the practise, but confidence is beyond practise if we can lift ourselves up enough to believe, with positivity, keeping things mechanical, and being mindful as we do it.


***


It is reasonable to doubt our abilities, but where we have proven our capability to do something we should not doubt our ability to do it again. Our capability is our confidence.


© 2012 S. J. Wickham.



The Distances of Intimacy



Think of the difference between ‘a distance’ and ‘the distance’ and they communicate vastly different concepts. The first describes something potentially far off and the second describes a measurement. The distances of intimacy, similarly, portray relational closeness in different ways.


One fact remains, however: the distances of intimacy are bound to grow if they are not maintained. The distance will become some distance.


And, at some point the relationship reaches breaking point if it’s not tended to. That may or may not be conducive to our goal.


In more broad terms, the distances of intimacy simply enunciate a phenomenon known throughout life: the vanishing points of perspective.


One Perfectly Visible Fact Of Life


Vanishing points in space (the geometry of perspective) and time (the present moment inevitably becoming history) tell us a lot about life in this realm. It keeps moving—its state, nature, purpose, and identity is dynamic. Life implies movement.


Consciousness cannot remain still, though we often wish we could slow it a little.


All energies obey this law whether they are stored statically, as in a charged battery, or the energy relents, like the blowing of leaves by the wind.


As far as relationships are concerned—and in the poignant sense: intimacy—such a truth is graphically known.


The vanishing point theory demonstrates that intimacy either grows to reduce the distance between us or it diminishes and we grow apart—things measured by distance to reduce or increase in distance.


Intimacy will always require nurturing, and if we are serious about our relationships—not just the romantic ones—we will invest whatever it takes to maintain the closeness of rapport.


Likewise, some relationships we’ll allow to peter out; those that don’t matter so much—those that may dilute our vital intimacies too much.


Both Types Of Distance Are To Our Advantage


Reflecting over the relationships of our lives we can measure the distance of the intimacy in each one; they fit into one of three boxes: the intimacy is about right; there is too much intimacy; or, there isn’t enough.


We are the ones designing the distance. We are the ones who are measuring the preferred space between us. We are the ones investing or divesting accordingly.


The distances of intimacy are to our advantage so long as others will allow and we have the ability and mindfulness to reflect and move in the direction we wish to.


***


The distance between us and our partners or work colleagues or siblings or other family members etc is up to us. We can at any time increase or reduce that distance. Importantly, the distances of intimacy always shift naturally apart, like floating islands; they require effort to maintain.


Intimacy is a thing we are rewarded with due the effort we put in. Intimacy and trust cannot grow without sustained commitment, as seen via the mode of action.


© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hope When You’re Broke



Few life circumstances cripple our hope more than the capitulation of our finances; the loss of good paying work, uncertainty, reliance on piecework, and much debt. All these and more will get us down, and down we might stay, except for a vibrant hope that sits somewhere amongst the truth.


And that’s where the key difference lies between hopelessness and hope: the truth that fuels genuine belief.


So, how do we find hope within the available truth that amounts to our financial lives?


Servicing The Practical Need


Purpose-driven parents have one aim when their families are materially destitute: to feed, clothe, and educate their children; to indwell within them reason for hope. Despair will not define them.


Life becomes simple in circumstances of sheer need. It’s unfortunate that simplicity is normally a good thing. Yet, in these circumstances we’d like to afford a little more than frank simplicity; still, we’ll take it—there are those worse off!


Servicing the practical need is done on a day-by-day basis; and, though such a living situation increases our faith we would prefer any other challenge, besides the loss of health or, worse, loved ones.


Recalling The Blessedness Of Tight Circumstances


One thing the materially well-off don’t have is the blessedness of tight circumstances—the appreciation of simple things because everything of material worth is scarce.


Scarcity is an eternal value that speaks into our hearts. When things are no longer scarce all of life becomes comfortable and, ironically, our happiness ebbs away.


Though times might be tight, very few people, if any, certainly in the Western world, have starved to death; unlike those plagued by famine in East Africa.


Hopefulness is generally borne on a low tide where life might only be seen for the improving. When situations are truly dire, the spirit within, if it can smile, is somehow fortified and made stronger. Hope in the midst of hopelessness is actually more prevalent than it is when we have nothing to want for. And there, too, is God.


When life gets tough we discover who our friends are; the family members with love in our hearts come, where they can, to see if they can help—not to rescue, for our dignity is important to them.


***


Having hope when we’re broke is the incredible testimony of faith; to understand the complexity of dire straits, yet still do whatever can be done to make the best of life without. Believing we will not only get through but also grow is faith enough to get through today—and today is all anyone has.


© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Doing and Achieving Things Together


“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.”


~Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NRSV)


Helping my father with my parents’ lawns each fortnight is one way of staying connected as well as ensuring important maintenance work is done—and completed in a way that is easier in accomplishment together than alone. Without a word said, we spur each other quietly on.


It’s noticed, also, when it comes to working out—gym activities are always more fun when done with a partner.


Doing and achieving things together has an important practical component—that the work gets done—and it’s also a way that intimacy can be procured and enhanced in a healthily distractive setting.


Teamwork And Loneliness


For all the downsides in doing things together—like having to compromise on methods and rein in selfishness—it is by far more preferable than struggling, alone, at tasks that either require two people or would be more fun done that way.


Loneliness is just as much about a lack of felt intimacy—with other people or with ourselves—as it is anything else. It’s a state of heart that defies the moment’s reconciliation to be at peace. No one relishes it.


This is why cherishing time to do things together is about enjoying the fellowship as much as it is doing the task itself. We all have memories of group-times that, for the life of us, we would love to replicate, but can’t—truly great times that can never quite be totally recaptured in the present day.


So, the activity completed is one thing, but the time together—whether a twosome or a whole group—is entirely another thing; the task is material and the fellowship is spiritual. One we can almost put a price on; the other we can’t.


Things Done Together – Double The Purpose And Meaning


Whenever we do things together we urge each other on—if not vocally, then it’s by recognition of the witness of the other person: we see them work and it inspires us to follow their lead and vice versa.


Things done together unveil the blessings of community; even the twosome. The promise of Jesus’ presence—“where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there also”—becomes, at some sense, the visible reality for those involved (Matthew 18:20). What they do, they do for goodness and grace—it brings out our individual best.


***


Achieving things as an individual might always be inferior to achieving things together. The help of a friend or our help to them is the operant kindness of God when done willingly. It is perhaps the simplest of blessings.


© 2012 S. J. Wickham.