In life, there are things and there are people.
Things are great. They are exciting, they are rewarding and they can make life grand. A great job, a nice place to live, an education, a good church: these are all great things. There is nothing wrong with things. Important things should be priorities. You should make time in your life for important things. This is healthy.
But you can be lazy with things and not see dire consequences.. You can slack at work, you can stop exercising, you can put off writing a paper or studying, you can forget to pay bills, you can stop writing in your journal, you can read less than you did before. You can be lazy with things because they will not disappear entirely. Your blog will not cry if you don’t write things for it. Your bills will not walk out the door if you forget to pay them. Your body might not be in the same condition after ignoring it, but it will still be there. You might get fired from your job but you can always get a new one. Things will not completely disappear. If they do seemingly vanish, there will be other things ready to take their place. Things will be there. Things are replaceable.
People, on the other hand, are not. You cannot be lazy with people. People feel, people react, people respond. If you ignore a person, they will hurt. If you do not put effort into a relationship, it will fizzle. If you are not willing to stand up and fight for a person, they will feel defeated. People are not replaceable. If you forget about them for awhile, when you return, you will not find them in the same condition you left them. People cannot be put on pause.
People are more difficult than things.
But people are not things. They can look you in the eye and say, “Yes, I understand you.” They can listen and respond with compassion. They can hug you when you are hurting. People can comfort in a way that things cannot. People can encourage in a way that things cannot. People can feel alongside of you. Things cannot do that.
But people are much more difficult than things.
People will disappoint you, they will let you down and they will rip you to shreds. But they can also surprise you, encourage you and help you rebuild. People are not predictable, but they are powerful.
Things are the bricks that build a life. The bricks are the most obvious to the structure – the house, the car, the job, the money – but the people are the mortar. Relationships hold all of the things together. They bind them. They make them stronger. Mortar makes a pile of bricks a wall: something useful, something strong and something beautiful. Mortar gives a stack of brick structural integrity. Mortar gives the bricks a purpose and a function.
I don’t want my life to be a pile of bricks, waiting to get toppled over. I want my life to be a wall that is strengthened by the people surrounding me.
I want the mortar.
I want the glue.
I want the mess.
I want the stuff that isn’t easy.
I want the bricks too, but I want the people there to bind it all together and make it worthwhile.
I don’t want a pile of bricks.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” – C. S. Lewis