Sunday, June 30, 2013

Checking In

I picked up The Giver for my summer reading list a few weeks back.

Not that I actually have a list, but in the process of listening to someone else's recommendation for a young adult science fiction series, The Giver kept enticing me as I stood in the public library. I had read it once a long time ago and remembered it being good... so, why not?

If you haven't read it, you should.

I started reading it today (and I hope to finish it today...)... but I'm so entranced by this utopian world that's created. Within a few pages, an idea leapt out at me. An idea for an ideal... probably catered more toward the female than the male (but perhaps just as necessary for both).

In this book, the family unit is required to share feelings each night. It's one of their rituals. Each night, they go around the table and tell their feelings from the day.

The idea stirred something in me... perhaps a longing. A longing for a time each day to share hear from others and to have someone else hear me. To know that each day there would be a safe place for this to happen... a place where I could be heard and still loved.

When I think of my favorite living situations, it has always been the times where we had the freedom to share our feelings. To come home each day and debrief what happened. There was a comfort in knowing that someone else was going to take the time to hear about my day, that someone else wanted to hear about my day.

When I think of some of the aspects of dating that I really enjoy--one of them has everything to do with knowing someone else cares about my life. A checking in on each other and finding out how the other is doing each day. It's probably one of the things I miss most or makes me feel most lonely as a single.

Because we're created for relationship. We're created with a longing to be known, to be cared about, to be heard. And sometimes we get in the habit of stuffing this inside and not wanting to really open up at all. We get in the habit of thinking that no one cares or that no one wants to hear, or that if we just talk to God about all of these things, that we're okay.

I'd like to challenge us to be people who check in with each other more regularly. Whether you're married, or living with roommates, or have a full-fledged family with kids and dogs and goats... what might happen if we were willing to take time each day to ask the others how they're feeling, how they're doing, how their day was? What might happen if we were able to release all of that pent up emotion in a safe place as well? Even if it was just for a season...?

Because I honestly think that God created us for relationships like this. That even when it was just Adam and God, the Lord declares that it's not good for man to be alone. There's something necessary about having other people in our lives.

And I think we need to take advantage of that.
I think we need to be more intentional with those around us.
I think we need to check in with each other more often, I think we need to be more transparent about how we're really doing and what's really going on with us/our emotions. There's something cathartic about it... something healthy...something strangely important. I think this 'checking in' needs to be more of what's expected versus the exception...a ritual in our life versus the every-so-often-when-I-think-about-it type of ordeal.

Let's be creatures of deeper purpose than simply existing together as we crowd around the television set for dinner, or talk on a surface level about how our days were. What emotions did you feel? What did you learn? How are you growing/processing/wrestling through life?

Let's share these things with each other.
And let's be iron sharpening iron... in our families, our marriages, our roommate situations, our friendships...

This sharing of feelings...?
I just think it's a valuable ideal that we can strive for, even if we aren't perfect at it. A time where we can be heard and make others feel heard... which ultimately leads to a feeling of being known and knowing others. Which, I think, is a really beautiful thing.

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