I only really internalized this over the past few years, but it’s life changing. I wish I fully understood it sooner, but I wouldn’t trade the lesson for anything in the world. Better late than never, I suppose.
It isn’t so much that I didn’t know this, since my father taught and modeled it to his kids from the time we were young. Knowledge sans action is pretty pointless, however, and motivations matter as it relates to experiencing growth even when outward actions seem pure.
The relationships I’m currently developing are such a blessing and the investments I am willing to make now are investments I wouldn’t have been prepared to make if I had not learned this lesson.
I’m encouraging our daughters to have real, robust relationships with people they see, enjoy and care about and who care about them. Facebook (which no one in our house has anyway), Instagram, Snap Chat, and even texting are no substitute for the depth of relationship you can have with people. Even people who are not exactly like you in every conceivable way.
The good things that God has put in us are best shared in the flesh and the good things he has put into others are best absorbed by us in the flesh. That’s not to say we can’t learn from secondary sources, because we can. We should. What we mustn’t do however, is cut ourselves off from the wealth and richness of flesh relationships and think we can replace it through the illusion of “community” with ideologically pure people. That just puffs us up, making us believe we are something when we are nothing and worst of all, hinders our ability to extend grace to other people.
I am so very grateful for the relationships I have developed over the years that now extend beyond the comboxes. I appreciate what those people have added to my life, and they know who they are. One of their biggest benefits is helping me remember that there are good people everywhere. That sparked a desire in me to be more open, and reach out more to people in my immediate vicinity.
Others however, have served as an excellent cautionary tale of what happens when you don’t pan out, get out, and connect with people around you due to a condescending attitude and general disdain for other human beings.So for that Internet, I thank you.
We must learn to spend more time developing skills than being hypnotized by nonsense. Spend more time with your friends in person than through pixels -at least as much as you can. Work alongside people and experience the joy of receiving from them as well as imparting to them with grace as Providence allows.
One of the things that hinders our growth is failure to appreciate how much we need to grow, and how much we don’t know. We have knowledge at our fingertips and are awash in knowledge, and as a result we don’t think we need other people to learn. We don’t appreciate when someone less educated or less materially blessed has something to offer. As a result, we miss out on fleeting moments of charity and clarity because we’re just too busy to be bothered.
I’m guilty of it, too. But I’m learning not to be, and life is more rich and rewarding as a result.
Real growth comes through actions and investment in others.