January 22, 2009
image: Solitary drop (cc) jsarcadia
I strive for growth in my personal life. Branded in my sense of self is this notion that life is growth, and that the moment one believe they've learned or accomplished it all is the moment they've begun their trek towards decay and death.
A while back, I found this article regarding growth through adversity. Or more accurately, it appears to claim that a certain level of growth is not possible without adversity.
Our relatedness brings us into reality, provided we are open to it. For instance, we prefer to avoid those people who annoy us, upset us, rub us the wrong way, push our buttons. Yet these are precisely the people who can help us to grow. Our reaction to them exposes the egoism we try to hide, the fear we suppress, the spite we pretend isn't there. Let's ask ourselves, "Who is the person I most hate to be around?" We need that very person in order to be real.
Relationships show us what's truly happening in our life, if we have the courage to face it. They reveal this separate, unreal self of ours who wants to isolate us from the rest of the human race. If we come to church on Sunday with the notion, "I'm here to be alone with God, I'm here to do my private devotion," we're living in a dream world. There is no such thing as a solitary Christian.
Terence Grant, The Silence of Unknowing
It's fascinating to me. The few comments under the post on that link make mention of "toxic" individuals who do more than simply irritate us, and are, in fact, harmful to our well-being. I think it takes some wisdom to discern which people in our lives fall into that category... but overall, I think I agree with the quote. Our unkind statements about people around us may actually be statements about our inability to handle situations we don't expect or desire, revealing our weaknesses to others, while leaving us blind to it. Perhaps intentionally placing ourselves in the presence of those with whom we have the greatest difficulty is what we need in order to learn how to gracefully and properly handle those situations.