08 December 2011

Do I Know You?

It's interesting just how consistent we are about building walls between ourselves and our fellow human beings.  It seems that we're so interested either in protecting ourselves or in keeping others out of our lives that we look for any reasons that we can find to keep people from knowing us, or to keep ourselves from knowing other people.  After all, once we know someone else, most of us feel a kinship with them, and that isn't always a good thing because it can cause problems and distractions in our lives.  And we don't want those, do we?

It is true that knowing other people often can be a pain.  There's a certain person in our apartment complex who's a very nice guy, but who won't stop talking if you stop to talk to him.  I don't want to be a stranger to him, but whenever I run into him he talks and talks and talks, without ever giving me a chance to participate in what he calls a "conversation."  The unfortunate thing is that my experiences with him sometimes make me hesitate when I have a chance to get to know someone else here.

In other words, sometimes the walls seem logical and sensible.  Sometimes it seems that the best thing that we can do is to keep other people at arm's length in order to avoid many possible negative situations.  The problem is when we start to put everyone in the category of "don't get close," for then we most certainly can rob ourselves of some pretty positive social interaction.

We can be positive about the people we get to know well, the people who become more than acquaintances to us.  We can choose carefully based on what we know about people, and not be afraid to say either "no" or "yes" when we're deciding whether or not we want to get to know someone.  The most important thing to keep in mind, though, is that none of us can make it through this journey here completely alone, and we do need the company and often the help of our fellow human beings.  There are many humans out there who would be great people to get to know, too, if only we were willing to take the chance to do so more often!  Set your rules and set your limits, but try not to keep everyone out of your life.  If you do, you'll be the one who suffers the most.

Treat people and live amongst them in such a way
so that when you die they will cry over you,
and while you are alive they long for your company.

traditional Muslim saying

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