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To Know … and To Be Know — CONNECTIONS

February 9, 2014

Presently, I’m involved in a play in which I deliver this line to my stage husband, “You don’t really know me at all, do you?”  It’s been weighing on my mind a bit.  The couple in the play have been married for 25 years … and they have become disconnected.  This “loss” of connection has manifested itself in much frustration, coupled with a crisis of identity and purpose.  Rather than taking the time or doing the work to reclaim their connection, they accept or pursue distractions that either just fill the time, or create an “illusion” of some past fulfillment.  It’s not that he, or she, does not care for the other … it’s just that they’ve forgotten or become complacent toward each other’s needs/desires … passion and purpose.

A friend of mine uses an analogy about being “a person” first … then people.  Basically, each of us are individuals and become “people” when we connect with others. I believe that we are created as individuals, and instilled with an innate, natural need to connect with someone else.   We long to “know” as well as “be known” for who we are.  This is a vital part of the basic human need to “connect.”

Of late, I’ve been thinking about “connection.”  Connection to people. Connection to God. Connection to purpose and passion.  While it does seem to be a basic human need, I wonder why it seems to be so elusive for some.  Or maybe, it really isn’t that “elusive” and there are simply some tangible blocks that hinder this connection for me and for others. 

I think that some “connections” are natural.  They may not be enjoyable or appreciated … but they are natural connections.  For example, you are born with certain connections to your family – mother, father, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.  From there, connections you have with other people — like friends, neighbors, community — are often more learned though they can seem (and some may be) natural as they are part of your culture or environment.  These can often be taken for granted.

This could be the case when it comes to a “connection with God” or “a god” or other beliefs.   What’s important or has focus within your “natural connections” would seemingly become a connection for you. But that is not always the case.  And while this kind of osmosis looks and seems to work well on the surface, there still must be a personal connection, or “crisis of belief” in order make this connection “real” or foundational to one’s identity.  

There have been plenty of parents who have every intention to instill their own set of values, beliefs and “wills” into or “onto” the lives of their children … only to be disappointed and/ or heartbroken when their children choose to go their own way. 

As I sit here thinking on this right now, I’m reminded of my own heartaches, as well as that of friends, who have lost connection with their children.  I’ve known plenty of people who have begged/implored/locked up and locked down, lain out and pleaded before God on behalf of their “disconnections” —- and seemingly never receive the answer or outcome for which they were asking. 

This leads me to consider … “chosen connections” … as opposed to those natural ones.  I firmly believe that we “can choose” what we believe, how we behave, and with whom we connect.  I believe we are created with that ability … regardless of our natural connections or culture or circumstances. Now that is not to dismiss that some of our “connections” and/or beliefs/behaviors greatly affect our choices.  But in my experience (and opinion), I believe that we are created by God who gives us the wherewithal and freedom to choose how we live (which includes our actions/reactions to) the life that each of us has been born into.

[NOW HOLD ON … before you jump my frame and bring up situations where children are born to abusive parents, or into poverty/starvation and sickness.  This involves a “whole ‘nuther kind of blog topic” — and “intelligent exchange.”   So let’s save for the next one.]

This “wherewithal and freedom” was given with the creation of Adam and Eve.  AND THEY were born into paradise … no abuse, no poverty, no starvation, no sickness.  Everything they needed, including natural connection with each other and God and wise counsel concerning their circumstances, had been provided for them by their Creator.  AND, they were given “choice” as well as opportunity to choose their path.

They were “connected” to good … to much greatness — but then, they got distracted and chose to go their own way.  Now, we can say that they were naïve and did not fully understand the implications or potential outcome from their choices.  Though God told them … “Don’t eat of that tree or you will surely die,” — I would have to point out that these people probably did not have any real knowledge of what “DIE” meant.   Much like each of us, and our own children, this was obviously a painful lesson to learn about “connections.”   Someone who knows says,  “don’t touch that hot stove eye, or you’ll get burned,” —- and unless we’ve ever disregarded this wise counsel and tempted fate by touching and getting burned, then we don’t get the impact of how “bad choices mean bad connections.”

Whether it is a “natural connection” or a “chosen connection” — I believe that all connections must be developed and nurtured.  This goes back to the relationship between the husband and the wife, as well as parent/children, or friends … and one’s connection with God.  This is where those hindrances … or the “faulty grids” caused by other choices made in life, can influence or affect these connections.

I think one of the greatest hindrances to “connection” is fear and distrust. But of course, when there has been painful or hurtful experiences in the past, when one has been subjected to harsh judgments or rejection … fear and distrust are natural outcomes. 

We are all prone to allow fear and/or distrust to have a stronghold in our lives … thus, this weakens our “connections” because we hold back and never experience the authenticity, and even intimacy that our hearts long for through connection.  A further truth is … that when we happen upon someone who is more open and revealing, we are often intimidated by their “transparency.”  This can keep us from fully embracing our own purposes and passions in life — because we want to be “acceptable” and choose to be “subjected to the opinions of others.”   So, when the woman in the play says, “You really don’t know me at all …” I am certain that it’s a two-way street, and that both have held back enough pieces of themselves for safe-keeping because of some degree of fear and distrust.

Most of us “humans” apply these same filters to our “connection” with God.  Someone once commented, “How can you trust the Creator when you see the many flaws in His creation.”    Others have asked, “How do you connect or trust someone that you cannot see or fully understand?”  I have been there … I have asked those same questions. 

As I said, I believe THIS CONNECTION, just like the ones that we have with each other, must be nurtured and developed.  I admit, I have deeply embedded trust issues.  “Life has turned me that way!”   It’s partly due to my “natural connections” but equally due to my own choices.   When I came (and when I come again) to the “end of me” and my limited understanding, and when I became willing to experience, engage in and embrace a relationship that was “more than just a façade” — my connection with God is more real  and ultimately more satisfying.

Jeremiah 29:11-14, (The Message)

I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

 “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.

“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.

“Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree

I realize that I may never be able to fully experience this kind of loving/lasting connection with another human on this earth.  But … I am satisfied (and elated) that such a Connection does exist for me with Him. 

OH, I get “glimpses” of something more earthly and tangible now and then with friends and family. 

But it is a rare opportunity when someone “really cares enough to know another”   … when someone really takes the time to “search out” what stirs the heart — to  understand another’s thoughts and passions and desires; cares enough to listen and learn and yes, “accept” and not be intimidated by such a genuine and authentic connection.  

And again … I have come to realize it has to be a two-way street.  I MUST be willing to be known … as well as to “know” the other … and this is true whether I am connecting with family … friends … a soul-mate … or My Creator, God.

Psalm 139 (New International Version)

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.


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