thinking about what i wrote yesterday, i realized that there is a fundamental difference between existing in relation to God, others, the earth, and living in relationship with God, others, the earth.
to be in relation to something is merely a matter of the order of things. i live in relation to the trees because both the trees and i exist and unconsciously interact - i provide them with co2 and manure, and they provide me with oxygen and shade.
But to live in relationship with the trees requires a conscious act of my will. it requires me to want to know them and to care about them consciously. for instance, on the abstract level, when i come to know trees as a species i gain a conscious insight as to their importance to me and their place in the greater scheme of things. on a more concrete level, when i come to know a particular tree, such as the one in my yard, i enter into a relationship with that tree; consciously watering, trimming, caring for the tree, and in turn consciously enjoying the beauty and solace it naturally provides me. i am able to become aware of its importance in my life and the importance i hold for it's life.
how much more profound an experience it is - when i make a conscious act of will to be in relationship with a being who can consciously engage me in relationship. when i engage another person, or any sentient being, in relationship i immediately begin to liberate myself from the bonds of self-centeredness and am able to begin to really engage life. hope becomes a real possibility because i have entered the bigger picture. i am not alone. relationship gives me the opportunity to experience the joy of living, and conversely life's sorrows. relationship opens me to the fullness of what it means to be human, and the dynamism that is real life.
yes, choosing relationship is risky, but choosing to exist solely in relation to others binds me to a static self-absorbed existence, which is not really living at all.
© 2010 halley low