We live in an age of immediacy.
The readiness and accessibility of information is broader than it has ever been before in history.
This has undoubtedly done immeasurable good in innumerable ways. However, I would argue that it has also unfortunately bred a generation focused on and valuing many of the wrong things. One example of this, that I’d like to discuss today, is our seemingly insatiable desire to do things quickly, and to find the “shortest possible path between two places”.
There are, of course, areas in our lives in which our ability to perform efficiently and quickly is desired, and beneficial! We have wonderful opportunities to connect immediately and easily to one another in ways never before possible, and by all means we should take advantage of those!
The argument I’d like to lay out for your consideration today is not that we are to be slow and tedious in all of our decision making and action taking. Rather that we educate ourselves with the positives and negatives to both approaches so we know which is appropriate for various circumstances as they present themselves.
As modern day gentlemen, yes, we are to look to the past to recognize and learn from the good that we can pull from the generations before us. However…we are equally as obligated to be present, and to look forward so as to take advantage of all the opportunities this day and age affords us.
Forgive me for painting my words with such broad strokes. Let me try to connect my thoughts in a way that is relevant to your day-to-day experiences.
You’ve heard us say over and over again on this blog how important it is for us to care for each other well and to invest intentionally in our relationships with one another. It’s a principle that is core to the foundation of the Modern Day Gentleman blog, as well as to the group it represents, the Distinguished Society of Fine Gentlemen.
I fear, brothers, that we are beginning to believe that the “5 tips to cure your problems” approach, so often fed to us, is just as appropriately implemented into our relationships. This “buzzfeed” mentality works fine if you are trying to figure out the 7 best ways to organize your bathroom, but it can be detrimental if carried over into how you tend to and invest in your relationships.
Everything has a strategy these days! Everything has a fix, or a “hack”. Friends…you cannot, and should not, ever “hack” a relationship. That simply is not how relationships work. They will not grow if approached this way, and they certainly will never thrive.
There is no quick path to intimacy and depth. There has never been a 3 step process to celebrate someone well. You cannot speak true life and encouragement into another with a gift that was in someone else’s “top 10 gifts for a 37 year old in the year 2016”.
Sure, loving someone may very well be a process. But not in the sense of the word that we have come to think of it. It’s not a repeatable process that can be manufactured or transferred from one relationship to the next. Loving someone well is a process in the sense that it happens over great amounts of time with consistency, intentionality and humility offered all along the way. The process is one that takes a great amount of patience and relentless pursuit.
If you try to “standardize” the act of caring for others, the people you are “caring” for are going to eventually see that, and are going to pull away. Make no mistake…if you try and place a one-size-fits-all solution into your relationships, those relationships simply won’t hold up.
Being in deep relationship with one another is extremely difficult, and takes hard work from both parties. Don’t think that just because you know someone’s favorite food and always take them to Texas Roadhouse when they have a hard day, that your relationship can stand up in the face of true adversity.
You need to deeply know someone’s heart in order to understand what they need from you in seasons of difficulty, burden, or tragedy. Similarly, you need to know them just as well to walk with them in seasons of victory and celebration. And let us not forget the importance of consistently pouring in even through the uneventful day-to-day. Only in this way can you create a relationship that is worth investing in, and that will remain steadfast throughout the very difficult test of time.
I hope my words were applicable in some way to you this week. My greatest desire for you is that you stay focused on things of substance, of lasting meaning, and of purposeful direction. Do not be tempted or distracted by the fleeting promises so often offered to us in today’s culture.
Link arms with your fellow gentleman as we stand firmly together in the truth that depth is worth fighting for, that relationships are worth the necessary investment, and that there is no shortcut to true intimacy with one another.