Saturday, April 26, 2014

detachment, part 1 [living life without expectations]


I was standing in the kitchen across from her. She was sitting up on the counter and telling me about her latest group session class. The topic was detachment, and as I listening to her explain who it manifested itself in adult relationships, there was a small flutter in my stomach.

That sounds like me.

She didn’t disagree.

Well… she didn’t say anything, like any good counselor in training would do, even though she wasn’t my seminary counselor. She was my roommate.

I felt the burden settle ever so slightly on my shoulders and went about cooking dinner.

We’re all closed off emotionally, to a point. I understand and believe that. We use it as a defense mechanism after being hurt. We believe it will prevent future pain, which leads us to believe our life will be better overall. We hold people at arm’s length, not trusting them until we are sure… but even then, maybe not fully trusting. This is understandable, but is it wise?

These words are echoing in my mind, you cannot selectively numb emotion. You cannot attempt to numb the bad emotions without that affecting the good ones, too. Is it possible that if we hold people at arm’s length we will ever let our arms down fully? Will at least part of our arms (or maybe hands) always cover our heart?

And if so, are we not living in a relationship that has some measure of detachment? As I felt that burden settle on my shoulders that day, I knew this moment, this realization, would be with me forever. I was emotionally detached.

Disappointment and heartache are experienced when we live our lives with expectations, because we will be let down. So logic dictates that if we stop expecting, there will be no more disappointment and heartache. Sounds ideal.  However, the more I think about expectations, the more I am convinced that they are more than just a noun. They are an emotion. And if they are an emotion, and you try to numb all the bad emotions, expectations will get numbed, too.

You’d be hard pressed to convince me this is a healthy way to live, to make me think this isn’t emotional detachment.

Being emotionally detached is a big risk, whether it seems so or not. It’s risking a full life, one without meaning. One without real love.

 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – 1 John 4: 17-18


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