“When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the electricity that surges between them.”
— Martin Buber (1878–1965)
It’s a mystery to me when, in relating with someone, I feel that special bond between them and I, such that I can be myself. I’m thinking of a particular person right now, a person who has had many struggles with depression and anxiety, a person who has significant daily challenges, but a person who seems to be more comprehensively authentic than most.
A relationship with someone like this—the rapport achieved in a 10-minute chat—is inspiring. When we can be ourselves among others life takes on a fresh dimension and something like a life force is added to us.
What’s Required for God to Fuse the Distance Between Two
Whether the relationship is with our marriage partner or a work colleague or friend, or even a stranger, there is always a distance between them and us—a physical distance and a psychological distance.
Bridging such a distance, electrifying that divide, is the role of both in being authentic with themselves before the other. There are four dimensions.
1. I must be truthful with myself.
2. They must be truthful with themselves.
3. I must be truthful with them.
4. They must be truthful with me.
Such a fourfold truth is a risk at every one of those four junctures. We can well imagine why there are inauthentic transactions within many relationships. It only takes one or two of those above four factors to be amiss and the relationship exists either subtly or highly on pretence.
The tenuousness in relationships is due to just this fact: we must both be truthful, respecting ourselves as well of the other in risking our vulnerability, and receiving theirs, as well as giving ourselves and the other person what is genuinely deserved. But sometimes trust between two is not deserved, and we can see how and why we hold back.
We can say with confidence that when two people engage with each other truthfully, God joins the space between them. There is an infusion of love between two who trust each other enough to be authentic. There is also the wonderful resonance of mutual respect vibrating between these two.
When we’re honest before another person, and they’re honest before us, God fuses the distance between us and creates a bond of intimacy quite rarely known.
Intimacy runs beyond romance. Intimacy’s centrality is truth. When two people trust each other enough to tell the truth, intimacy is created. Anywhere the truth exists, there also is God, both present and real.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.