In our whirlwind world, relationships are shallow and conversations circular.
Why don’t we dig deep? It’s hard to say. Maybe because it’s easy to skim the surface with superficial friendships, to define a relationship by the click of a button. Perhaps we just don’t want the work (and danger) of diving deep into another person’s heart. Or maybe we’re afraid—afraid others won’t understand, or that we’ll be hurt in the process.
But a terrifying possibility lurks beneath them all: we don’t know how. Maybe our culture no longer really knows how to forge deep relationships.
It’s easier to drift along the current than to fight for your life, trudging upstream, spitting blood out the side of your mouth. Sure. But is giving in to a shallow, Snapchat society really worth it? What are you losing in the process?
Technology connects us more than ever before. But it can become more than that. It can become the connection itself, practically replacing the friendship. We put only the good, the beautiful, the funny parts of our lives on our Insta stories. We make polls and practically beg for comments that will affirm our porcelain-thin self-confidence. If we have a problem with someone, or if we don’t want to deal with a conflict, we can just ignore that text.
But sooner or later, you’ll have to deal with relationships in real life. You’ll have to face the fact that a human being, face-to-face, is much different than a carefully collated timeline of pictures. It’s messy, ugly, and yes, there’s a lot of pain involved.
It’s really not worth it.
Our fear is so much a part of us that, I think, we are not even aware of it. We are so afraid of other people really seeing what we are, so afraid of having to see who they are. And for all that technology allows us to discover and create, we are becoming remarkably uncurious people.
Because real curiosity is fearless. It wants to know more about another person—the little things, the weird things. It wants to know if they cry, and what makes them cry, and why. It wants to know their favorite songs and may even sing along. Real curiosity understands the distinction between something wrong and something different, and isn’t afraid to call wrong things wrong—nor to call good things good, no matter how different they may be.
Courageous curiosity is loving someone even when you don’t understand them. Even if they don’t deserve it.
It’s recognizing the particular way a certain friend says your name.
It’s knowing who’s hugging you even if your eyes are closed. Recognizing a person a hundred yards away just by their walk. Knowing what memory a sound triggers in their head and what their favorite color is (and why) and remembering their limitations and reminding them of their strengths when they’re down.
God loves us unconditionally. He has called us to be like him: that’s the definition of holiness. And unconditional love is the root of courageous curiosity. It blasts the fear from our hearts. We can’t be afraid of how individuals will respond to us or how the world in general will react.
A relationship is like a muscle. It must be constantly moved, used, sometimes torn in ways that feel irreparable. But ultimately, when the tears heal, it’s stronger than ever.
So go. Be courageously curious. Drift out of the shallows. Dive deep.