Brokenness and redemption in human relationship

by JordanB

Like a great elliptical orbit, I return again and again in my life to the same theme: brokenness and redemption in human relationship. It gets bigger each time. All held in delicate, precarious balance by the social self in constant return: I see you seeing; the I gifted in the sight of your sight. Indelibly interwoven, never atomized. For that reason, vulnerability and trust have such deep power, but create such deep clefts in our experience of ourselves. If I can not take your perspective, then ‘trust’ has no hold over me. People remain pure objects to be moved and manipulated as far as desired. Openness, though, is a perforation of the boundary, making permeable what was impermeable, pregnable what was impregnable.

It begins in the garden. The man incomplete without a helpmate. The interfusing of flesh; the same flesh- bone of my bone. Why is it that we do not avail ourselves of the help of others? Why is it that we generally do not make ourselves available to help others? Pain, it is said, is interesting only to the sufferer; it seems banal to others. Do we need to drive these sufferers out of the camp? Are we afraid that they will infect us? I hate suffering in other people. I want them to shut up about it. I have extraordinarily small amounts of patience to hear other people whine. Suffering in the abstract, yes, because that is really MY suffering, which I find terribly interesting.

Maybe it is just that trust and compassion take a wholesale reversal of momentum. I really have to believe in the worthiness of unworthy people, including myself. People who are not movers and shakers, but who are low-lifes – cats-asides and passed-overs. Not the pleasant type, but often the unpleasant type. Or the uninteresting type. Or the unsophisticated type. This is not an easy thing. I must depend on grace every day to supply me with the compassion for myself and others that I otherwise do not have.