There’s two kinds of human interactions that carry a particular kick to them.
The first is when you work really hard at something, then have someone acknowledge and praise what you’ve been able to do. Work performance, a stage performance, sports prowess, artistic endeavors, physical feats. Whatever. Someone sees what you’ve been able to do and gets really excited about it.
One example of this is how parents get excited about what their children are learning and doing. Even as an adult child, this never gets old. Much as I wish I could outgrow it and not need it, I still crave approval from my parents. I tell myself I don’t need it and most of the time I don’t. But then they get super excited about something I’ve done or something I can do and my heart goes all a flutter. Sigh. I wonder if I will ever outgrow this.
The second kind of superb interaction is when you behave like a complete asshole and do terrible things…then someone chooses to not get angry. They choose to still love you. Work with you, talk through the thing with you. They keep on being your friend.
This is like when you confess an addiction or a serious misdeed to a trusted friend. This should be what it’s like sharing struggles and weaknesses to church folks like pastors and elders.
This second situation is one I try to avoid, but inevitably wind up stumbling into more times than not. I hate that it happens because I hate screwing up. But when there is love given in spite of my screw ups, it’s the best thing ever.
But both of these experiences are extremes. Extremely good praise for works well done or extremely deep love given in spite of doing bad things. Most of the time, most of us are caught somewhere in the middle. Fairly ordinary beings doing moderately dull things, never quite achieving perfection, never quite overcoming our flaws that are present, but not impairing. Neither wholly good nor wholly evil. And I wonder…are we okay with that? Are we okay not being brilliant and not being wretched, but somewhere in the ordinary middle?
I would tell any addict to abandon the extreme sensations of their drug and learn to enjoy the simple pleasures of everyday life. A blue sky. An open flower. A good meal. A deep breath. A deep stretch. Maybe I should listen to my own advice. Cherish ordinary human interactions where two people are simply present with each other. Not praise. Not fighting. Just being.