In this day and age we tend to live more independent lives than ever. Technology is at least part of the explanation; convenience also. There are myriads of social and human-nature factors at play. But our independence, which is supposed to deliver us more freedom, has actually delivered us more isolation. We may feel more disconnected nowadays—besides the ability to catch up with people over social media—than ever.
More independence and more freedom has not necessarily equated to more joy.
The Gospel narrative, on the other hand, speaks of a more dependent model. We are urged to depend on God and to be proactively responsible within the lives of others that touch our lives. This mix of dependency on God and responsibility within the lives of others brings us to the opportunity for interdependence.
When we achieve interdependence, which implies relational ways of being, we experience joy. Anytime we have joy we also tend to have much grasp on peace.
If we recognise that independence breeds isolation, we understand that being responsibly dependent within community—to enjoy interdependence—is the way to joy through relational presence.
Such a presence is the way we feel and hold ourselves. In the company of others we enjoy their presence, as we enjoy our own. We don’t force it. We allow it to come and rest with us. There is a superior joy to be experienced when we coexist in community like this.
When we allow others to rely upon us and we allow ourselves to rely upon others, and this occurs within the realm of mutual satisfaction, we are achieving interdependence.
This is true community where trust and respect flow between two parties and the connection seems effortless. Sure, there will be conflicts, but nothing the two entities can’t work out.
Enjoying interdependence takes us higher into the realm of Divinity. God is in these moments of mutual enjoyment. Love exists there. It is the halcyon experience.
Breaking Out Of Our Isolation
We may be isolated and unable, at this present time, to experience the fullness of God within the world.
Besides experiencing the pure presence of God, through prayer, fasting and meditation etc, we experience God in community—in relationship with other people.
Breaking out of our isolation sufficient enough to experience these blessings requires boldness. It requires a tenacious desire for something better. There may be no better experience in this life than the common or not-so-common love of simple and authentic fellowship.
Besides closeness to God, our greatest joy comes from trusting and respectful human relationships where we give and receive love. Joy is copious when relational presence between two people is struck.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.