Short Meds in the Goodness of Life: 7. Awareness (3)
Mk 8:17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: ‘Why are you talking about having no bread?
So, we have been considering the fact that we sentient beings have awareness and we have considered so far the awareness we have of the world around us, and then the fact that we can have awareness of God. But perhaps our greatest area of awareness is in respect of one another; we are designed for relationships and for the majority of us, a relationship is what we yearn for most and value most.
We start in life with parental awareness. I believe we start life off with a mind that is almost a blank slate and every moment is a moment of learning. The majority of our initial learning is to do with figures who dominate my waking time. We grow in awareness of them and without being aware that it is a learning process, we learn to relate to them. Relationships are always learning processes.
And as time passes and our learning increases we approach a level of maturity that is aware of the opposite sex. The modern western world is in confusion over this, partly because of the confusion and pain that there so often is in so-called dysfunctional families, but in a normal healthy family, family relationships enable maturity to come about and part of that involves developing relationships that bring about a couple committed to each other in which children are produced and raised and human life is able to continue: “a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (Gen 2:24) As some have put it in the past, there has to be a leaving before there can be a cleaving. But this ‘cleaving’ (as the older versions had it) is more than just physical, it is bringing about a oneness that does not depend on the surrounding circumstances, or on our state of health, it is a oneness that creates a security that can survive those things.
But while all this is going on through the passing of time, there is also an awareness of others around us and we learn that not everyone is to be trusted and some can be trusted more than others, and those things affect how we perceive relationships. Throughout however many years we have of our life, we learn to be aware of and interact with other people and maturity in this respect determines that we will be there for other people as much as they let us. Some relationships are transitory, some produce friendships for life, some are daily or weekly or monthly while others remain with the passing of time so even when we only meet every couple of years they are still strong. “Father, thank you for the wonder of relationships that can bring so much blessing into our lives. We are sad that sometimes they bring pain and for those times we ask for your grace. Amen.”
(We will focus on the Advent for the next month and may come back to consider our senses in the New Year)