Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Distance Between Us

What makes us feel close to people?

Why is it that, when in a crowded room, we are drawn to some people but not to others?

To feel close, must we also have proximity? Or have you ever experienced physical proximity separated by many metaphoric miles of emotional distance?

I have certainly seen proximity interfere with the ability to feel real closeness; but then, when one feels close already, will proximity automatically introduce itself to tie the two even more tightly together? What happens when physical distance makes proximity nearly impossible? Could the lack of proximity cause a more sincere closeness to develop out of necessity, setting a firm foundation across the expanse? If so, how far would you go for love?

Let's use vegetables as a euphemism to see if going far for love is even worth it.

A few years ago, a friend of mine committed herself to only buying organic and only buying local. Such a consumer attitude is meritorious for the local economy, I'm sure, but it takes hard work. Specifically, it takes a dedicated, steadfast commitment to the concepts of:

1. Perfection
2. Self-Reliance
3. Distrust

It is with jest that I poke fun at this consumer attitude in an effort to make a point about love. But bear with me, dear reader, as I attempt to string it all together.

If we seek love in the manner that we seek our veggies, and if we are seeking only organic vegetables that are free from the pesticides of a life lived hardily in spite of the difficulties put upon it, then we seek perfection -- and by that I mean having the expectation that it should come upon us with absolutely nothing that should cause us harm or sacrifice or sadness.

Or, if we accept that perhaps a little unhappiness along the way is okay, we at least expect those pains to be small, much like the quaint inconvenience of a hole in an organic apple from a worm who got there before we did.

Likewise, if we are self-reliant and we set our sights on things that are only local, then we limit ourselves to the health and prosperity of the locality in which we reside, forgetting that things can change and that we called to be more than just the sum of our town's agricultural parts. Love is not possible when we are totally self-reliant, and if we give the majesty of love the same local limit, then we are buying from the belief that emotional closeness comes only from proximity and not the other way around.

Lastly, if we distrust the vegetables we see at Giant, fearfully passing over them with the promise to hit up the health food store next week, we miss out on the recommended daily allowance for today, just as we can when we attempt to make decisions about love without the recommended daily guidance that comes from trusting in God. Missing out on today for the prospects of a better tomorrow is nothing more than the development of malnutrition for the head and heart.