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The Messy Human

It sometimes feels like we are a little obsessed with the word “community”. It is the buzz word of not just the church scene but in our society too. I imagine its our attempt to claw back that sense of belonging and feeling connected to each other. We now ride the train of individualism (another buzz word) and there is that nagging voice that tells us we are missing something.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis train carries a shot of adrenaline that rushes through our veins. We can be anyone and do anything and no one can stop us. We don’t need anyone. We ride this train alone.

However in our striving to be successful, to be popular, to be wealthy and to be beautiful we find an inner ache of loneliness. This is because all the things we strive after are meaningless unless shared with someone. As CS Lewis says:

“Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”

Meaning is found outside of ourselves. We could spend eternity looking in the mirror telling ourselves that we are beautiful, but it doesn’t feel true until someone looks into our eyes and utters those words for our ears to hear. The words people say carry meaning and can give such significance to who we are. And yet, as much as they can be used to create significance, they can also be used to destroy. Sticks and stones often hurt less.

Nonetheless, our meaning and our sense of identity is found in relation to others. In the current facebook advert we friendshipadare reminded of the importance of friendships:
“There’s that point when someone became more than just someone,
When a friendship became official…”

We yearn for those types of friendships and for someone to be more than ‘just someone’. And we, in our very being yearn to be more than just ‘someone’. We want to find a place of significance in the lives of others, to be held, to be valued and to be loved.

It is a messy place to be. There are no clean lines or rules. Creating connections with people, going beyond the surface level, may mean the barriers need to come down. It’s a chance for us to expose our vulnerable stories and find a safe space to do that. Yet if we don’t like the mess we end up finding ourselves in a very cold place. A place that is rather sterile and numb. We soon feel less human. It’s the place where only our reflection tells us that we have “become more than just someone” and it’s not enough.

3theoriesIn Ellis Potter’s book “3 Theories of Everything” he says that at the core of humanity, we have our basic “needs”. These needs have to be met with others in order to feel human. Those four needs are:

  • To be seen
  • To be heard
  • To make a difference
  • To be wanted

I want to spend a bit of time on each one in separate blog posts, looking at how they are important in our friendships and how we flourish when they are being met. Then ultimately I will be looking at how Jesus meets each one and how through and by him we are made truly made human.

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