Monday, July 24, 2017
through a glass darkly
Today in A Year with the Church Fathers, we hear again from Asterius of Amasea. He tells us that when we get married, we are actually marrying a human being. He asks "Did you forget that you married a human?"
This sounds funny. But I was reading Derrida the philosopher today and he actually said the same thing, but in slightly different words. He said that when we get married, we are marrying our perception of what this person is like - and our perception is fuzzy and warm and full of happy honeymoon feelings. But once we are married and we live with the person for awhile, we start to realize all of the actual human traits that they have. We begin to meet the person we actually married. And we should both prepare ourselves for that ahead of time, and deal with it patiently when it happens.
Because in that situation, we're making ourselves vulnerable. When you live with someone, especially as their spouse, you are letting them see the side of you that isn't polished and perfect and ready for a closeup. You're letting them see the part of you that is more real. That takes courage.
But the marriage relationship is just a heightened version of this vulnerability. When we see people on the street, we have a blurry, perfected concept of what they're like. We see them through a glass, darkly. When one of us decides to talk to the other, we make the glass a little less dark. We make ourselves vulnerable to them. We "let them in" and open ourselves up to ridicule and criticism. So once again, we should be patient and loving with each other when that happens, realizing that the person we talk to is a human being who is putting themselves out there and trusting us to treat them kindly.
Let's clear a little of the darkness out of the glass on a daily basis, and patiently love those in our lives who are (even if they don't realize it) bravely making themselves vulnerable to us.
God, thanks for teaching us how to treat each other kindly... please help us do so.