Staying Connected

In his classic The Great Divorce, a story about the separation of Heaven and Hell, C.S. Lewis describes the journey of a person taking a bus trip to visit Heaven. The traveler asks his guide why such a large downtown as Hell has so few people living there. The guide replies, "The trouble is they're so quarrelsome. As soon as anyone arrives he settles in some street. Before he's been there 24 hours he quarrels with his neighbor. Before the week is over he's quarreled so badly he decides to move. After he moves, he's sure to have another quarrel pretty soon, and then he'll move on again..."

So it is with many of us today. How many times have you heard, felt or said, "I can't deal with this anymore, let's just move!" We live in communities and drive the same roads with the implied understanding that we're doing our best. But living side by side, we're open and vulnerable. Over time, we'll inevitably experience situations both difficult and delightful. When things become difficult, it's easy to react defensively and look questioningly at the neighbors we once thought we knew.

When something goes sour (a borrowed weed eater isn't returned, or we hear our name slandered) we're hurt and instinctively pull away.

In spite of such times, one thing stands true. What's important in life is that we love. Love is both simple and complex. For everyday people like ourselves, love triggers a constant push/pull in our souls. It brings out our strongest feelings of justice and mercy, right and wrong, with the ability to continue loving somewhere in between.

Love is looking beyond what we see, feel and know to have a fuller understanding. It's believing that every person is trying his or her best just to get up, breathe and face the day. For many, even that can be a Herculean task.

In his book Illusions, Richard Bach said that people in our lives are there for a reason. What we choose to do with them is up to us.

We can pull away, and for a time that may be necessary. But our gut knows that, in the end, true happiness is found in learning how to stay connected in the face of emotional separation. Someone once said that we are here to learn how to taste of the bitter cup without ourselves becoming bitter. Loving while hurting is one of the hardest things we can do. If we allow it to be, purposeful pain can be a powerful teacher. If we seek deeper insights from a higher source, we may find purpose in such pain.

When you experience an emotional challenge, try viewing it in another way. Take time in a different mental or physical place to look at the situation from a different perspective, without placing blame. If you truly desire and ask for peace, you'll eventually feel and know it.

One lady recently said, "People are human, get over it." More importantly, go through it, be a part of it, don't avoid it. Perceiving and embracing people as people, with all the weird and wonderful things people do, also helps us embrace those things within ourselves.

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