Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The death of intimacy.

I am at a time in my life in which I am soaking up information like a sponge. Since graduating college I have refined so much about who I am and the things I value and care about, which has led me to be more observant and aware of my surroundings in a different way than I used to be. Sometimes it is beyond exhausting to be so interested in figuring everything out...sometimes I wish my brain didn't work so hard, that I wasn't so analytical, that I didn't care so much. It really takes a lot out of me.

I read something today that I found deeply disheartening. But it also made a lot of sense.


This story from NPR talks about the cultural shift that's taken place within our generation over the last couple of decades regarding casual hook-ups and sex. Besides the fact that I feel casual hook-ups are destructive, what saddens me greatly about the idea of casual sex without relationship, has everything to do with a growing lack of intimacy among young people. I realize I value closeness and intimacy a whole lot, perhaps more than the average mid-twenty-something woman. I truly feel that intimacy on varying levels is the lifeblood of relationships, the lifeblood of so much of my well-being. When it comes to romantic intimacy, it's no big secret that I am a hopeless romantic, often leading me to become impassioned about someone too quickly. I am vocal about and aware of my weaknesses because I know myself well and desire to strengthen the parts of me that don't come out naturally well-adjusted and smoothly functioning. I feel strongly about this issue because I see it getting abused all the time...and I don't believe people are as ok with it as they pretend to be. I am going to make some statements about women that may sound blanket-like but I mean them in the best way possible while still considering there are women who will not fit into what I am saying. Please don't berate me for sounding stereotypical, sexist, or narrow; in reality I am a woman and only know the position in which I come from and therefore from where I see the rest of the world around me.

Women often define themselves by the quality of their relationships. Though men may sometimes do the same, it is vastly different for a woman. Women often recognize relationships as the most important factor in their lives and will feel great when their relationships are going great and crappy when they perceive their relationships as lacking or failing. This is the point at which I feel that casual sex and hook-ups are really damaging for women. Once a woman embarks on several casual encounters with men, I believe it truly begins to affect the way in which she feels about herself and the world around her. We already are bombarded into believing our worth comes from our sexual output, our looks, our ability to get men to desire us...when in reality our self-esteem is shrinking exponentially to dangerously low levels. What can be done about this spreading disease? I realize that my opinion differs being that I am a Christian woman who attempts to live my life with different values than the world...though I often struggle with that and subsequently fail...all the time. What I know is that women are using the vehicle of casual sexual encounters to find the most fleeting moments of satisfaction in that they feel desired, if only for a short time. Naturally, as we all know well, that satisfaction doesn't stick and yet another fix will be soon to follow. Why we as women start to count on men for approval and worth is mind blowing to me yet I also understand the draw. That is nothing new and nothing profound. We know ourselves to be beings of discontent, constantly looking for the next finite experience to give us false hopes of a solid self-worth.

Today probably isn't the best day for me to be writing about these things...or, come to think of it, maybe it IS the best day. I am working hard to overcome a bit of a bleak outlook on life in this moment...we are born, we grow up, we get into debt, we work jobs we don't like, we struggle with our self-worth, our relationships, we try and maintain hope in whatever we can get our hands on, we suffer, we have moments of joy...and we die. I know that is the pessimist's worst perception...but sometimes maybe it's good to be reminded just how hard we have to work for the goodness in life...and that it's worth it to work that hard.

I can't seem to shake this whole Air France plane crash that's all over the news. I read another article about it this morning explaining about the different pieces of the plane they have found and what might have caused things to go awry. 228 people dead. Just like that. They have only recovered 28 bodies. I know it's grim and morbid but it makes me want to scream and cry and ask, WHY?! Innocent people. They had no idea their lives were about to end. I can't stand the fragility of life yet I know within that fragility is the only place we can come to understand God and why we need him.

And I need him. A lot.

Days like today, in which I feel myself unraveling at the seams, remind me just how wonderfully out of control of my life I am. And how I need to let go of things even more than I already have. I feel infantile in my grasping for understanding; I am feeble, weak, and small when I think of my Lord and all the power he holds in just one finger. Ugh. It's overwhelming. Yet so often we live the most underwhelming of existences.

I want more. I need more. Yet part of me feels glued to the floor.

I'm sorry I'm a little bit crazy, a little bit all over the place, a little bit emotional. I just desperately want to live my life, live it well, love the Lord, and share that love with others. Yet I am merely human, merely imperfect, merely trying to find my way just like everyone else.

And I realize out of the ashes of the death of earthly intimacy must rise divine intimacy...or we will never make it.

More of You and less of me.

Ok, God. I'm ready. Here I am. Take me.

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