At our twenty-something retreat last week, one of our young adults said something that startled me. He said, “We don’t know how to be intimate with God because we don’t know how to have intimate relationships with anybody”. Everyone agreed with him, and in fact became quite animated because they felt like he had put something to words that they were all feeling but didn’t quite know how to say. For my part, I just listened.
They said that so many of their generation come from broken homes, but that in even in homes that have stayed together, family members can be so busy and pulled in so many different directions that quality time together--and the feeling of being close it produces-- can still be something that is woefully missing. They spoke of the difference between a text, a tweet, or a tumble, and a two hour conversation continuing deep into the night, between having a friend list a mile long and actually having a close friend who knows us inside and out. They talked about the hook-up culture that chooses the ease of physical intimacy over the hard work of emotional intimacy.
In discussing these things and many more, they weren’t complaining in any sense of the word, just describing life as they experience it. And the conversation didn’t end there, but moved on to the ways that they were discovering and enjoying community. I was encouraged that for each person there, church was one of these places.
It made me think, of course, about how I’m doing in my relationships. Perhaps it gives you occasion to think about this as well. And in so doing, perhaps it gives all of us a chance to think of how we can make space in our lives in 2012 for those profound connections with others where “deep call unto deep,” and we are reminded anew of how very good it is to love and be loved, to know and be known.
(The picture above is of an evening meal in Montana. After a mission trip, a group of us stayed a couple extra days and simply enjoyed being together doing such things as eating slow food and laying on our backs watching the stars at night.)