Being human is a ridiculous adventure.
I recently finished reading The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard, which emphatically states the driving force within all of us is freedom. We want to be the boss of all the things – our work, our play, our money, our social calendar. Being free is the ultimate internal goal. There is nothing that feels untrue about that. I do want to be free.
So then, I asked my dad while reading it, why do we also want each other? If each human compass points directly due independence, why do we want love and family so much? Why do we have clubs and church? Why do we plan things all the time (and really, sometimes it feels like ALL THE TIME) that involve other people?
Dad said it’s because we were made for kingdom. He believes in a good king (think Aslan in Narnia) and that we are meant to join the king one day and live with him forever, where loving each other will be easy and unending. Church, fraternity, marriage, girls night out, and Thanksgiving dinner are basically all of us hanging up our autonomy to try at least once more for that perfection we know to be real – the perfection of loving, lasting relationship.
Even if you believe no such thing about a good king and a perfect kingdom, surely you have recognized besides your desire for freedom, a longing for love. You’ve also probably noticed that the communities we create for this always tend to fail us.
We write this desire into our stories all the time, but it rarely fails us there. Have you noticed? In television, books, and movies, the characters can be pretty horrifying to each other and still eventually forgive and come back together. Fictional characters consistently act out selfishness against each other way beyond the lines we draw in life. They tell one another’s secrets, lie to each other, break up, yell, and fight. They live fully human, autonomous lives around each other, which leads to massive screw-ups. And then they find a way back to relationship, somehow, some way, even if it takes a couple episodes.
We want to get along. We want someone to love us even when we once fell for the dark side. We want to be forgiven.
They say the best way to see change in the world is to be it. This Christmas, a time many of us celebrate as the birth of Love itself, let’s do that thing where we give to others the thing we most want to receive. We want to be loved, accepted, and forgiven? Let’s love, accept, and forgive. Not one of us can fix the whole world with this intention. But try it anyway. It may be you could mean the world to one.