There are days when I’ve trade real relationships for social networking sites. When others’ chirps and updated conditions have masqueraded as knowing what’s going on in their lives. When IM-ing or serial commenting has been the seat-filler for the lost art of conversation. But these phantoms are as real as the H&M catalogue models: contrived manifestations of what we think we want. An ideal that is warped, one-sided, and self-focused.
Because, relationships, the genuine ones, are messy. People require effort. And there’s always the possibility that we won’t be Awesome enough. That we’ll be eclipsed, our lacking found out. And we’ll be replaceable.
So it’s easy to retreat behind our categorical ramparts. There are people we see on Sunday, work people, people we call every other week, those with whom we only interact online. That’s safe. Besides, we tell ourselves, “I’m much too busy to engage people on that level. It’s the season I’m in.”
And yet, Jesus, who had only 3 years of ministry on earth in a time without podcasts, webinars, or tweets to further his message, Jesus found time to be absolutely present with the people near and dear to him. Not just the heads of his impending church, but people, like Lazarus, Mary, and Martha, whom he called friends. He ate with tax collectors, prostitutes, fishermen, and Pharisees. Jesus, who frankly embodied Awesome, called it out of those with whom he interacted. The presence of his Awesome called forth theirs.
But, shuttered away, isolated and pale in the cold winter of loneliness, our Awesome shrinks; skulks into a corner and turns its face to the wall. Forgotten and diminishing.
However, in the company of others it shakes off the fetters of self. Because it’s here, in community, that the Awesome thrives. Only here, can it begin to be known. Only here, however haltingly, can it press towards what it was intended to be: you, utterly and solely you, being the Who you were created to be.
Turn off the tv, pause the ipod, stop tweeting and updating long enough to really listen to your Awesome. Is it crying out for companionship? Where and with whom are you airing it out? Because in our day of virtual reality, all the ambient noise is the courtesan that distracts us from the very state of our souls.
When is the last time you actually listened to another person’s spirit, not just the words they were saying. But the words, in the context of their life, their dreams, their fears, their failures. And in doing so, saw them for who they are. And called them forward to who they were designed to be.
When was the last time you let someone do that for you?
You were made to be known. You were made to share your Awesome with fellow sojourners on this planet. Seek them out, engage people on a relational level. Get involved. Be messy. Your awesome will shine through you; and theirs through them. You’ll each come away better for it.