I am in my early thirties. It’s a wondrous time, being over thirty. Forgive me for saying it this way, but when I reached thirty, I quickly developed an intolerance for bullshit.
My age suddenly became a stark reality. For the first time, I felt like a real adult, and realized how responsible I am for my remaining years on this earth.
Part of of this realization encompassed the area of friendships and relationships. I looked around and realized that I know a lot of people. I joke around with a lot of people and hang out with them at church and the like. I realized that less than a handful of those people actually knew me, and when I examined myself, I hardly knew them either. Not really.
When you are a child, you are shoved into school and soccer clubs and forced into circles of other kids that inevitably become your friends. In your twenties, a lot of those friendships fade away, and it’s a disheartening thing to go through. Suddenly you find yourself, thirty-something, feeling quite friendless.
And you think to yourself, “I’m a nice person. I’m funny and friendly and kind-hearted. Heck, I’m hilarious! What’s wrong with me?”
It was at this point in my life that I realized that as an adult, for example, I may be shoved into an open-plan office with other adults, but I (and all of them) have developed the ability to choose friends, and to choose where to invest time. I was still operating at school-kid level, trying to forge meaningful friendships with all my peers…
I realized: I can choose. And they can choose. A magical thing could happen where two weirdo’s who speak the same level of Language Weird could hit it off, and something truly special can be born. Alternatively, it could be a total hit and miss. But we choose when to invest more, and when to remain mere acquaintances.
I think of deep sea diving when I ponder the mystery of friendships…
Diver Joe jumps into the water, equipped with his wet suit and his oxygen… down he goes, enjoying the fish, enjoying the coral reefs, the way the waves sway him this way and that, making him feel weightless and joyful. He reaches an embankment on the ocean floor. Looking down, Diver Joe can see nothing but navy blackness, and a cold current nips at his wet suit. A grey fin appears and disappears back into the murky waters. He swiftly decides that this is not for him, and retreats back to the sun-splintered ripples of shallow waters.
On the same day, Diver Mike hops into the water, and enjoys the same wondrous beauty of colourful sea-life and warm waters. Just like Diver Joe, he reaches the embankment overlooking the darkness, and feels the chilly waters below tease his exposed face, tugging gently at strands of hair. He looks back to the comfort of the shallow waters, contemplating return to safety… but instead leans forward and allows himself to sink into the cool depths of the ocean’s deep.
And it is here, in the darkest places, that he encounters some of planet earth’s most wondrous creations – rare, exciting, dangerous, glorious… Magnificence that would never be seen or experienced in those balmy, comfortable shallow waters.
Are we not all on this earth, deep-soul diving, trying to find the waters filled with unforgettable wonders, but all too often afraid of the dark, afraid of the unknown… ?Afraid of the “real” inside of each other? We want the magnificence, but aren’t willing to leave the comforts of warm, shallow waters.
We judge too quickly on the surface. I do it, too. Often, in fact. We also cast a net over our own depths, keeping others at bay, lest our inner wonders and predators scare them away. We use nets of sarcasm and humour, nets of hostility, nets of pretense. We don’t dare venture into the depths of others. We live in the warm shallows, and although it all sounds rather lovely… it can feel quite lonely.
This is typical of modern society, a social-media-driven community of happy selfies and pictures of cats.
As I wade through my thirties, intentionally choosing people that I invest in, I no longer have time for bullshit, for pretense, for stepford clubs. I give Real. I want Real. I offer Broken. Give me your Broken.
It’s not for everyone, mind you…. Some people aren’t ready for your Real. Others will trample on your Broken, as pigs do over pearls. But others still will tenderly cup your pain and ugliness and quirks in their open palms and watch with admiration as you form the delicate layers of healing around it all, until it shines with beauty and endurance…
That’s when deep-soul diving is very much worth it.