Addressing the Career Ministry at the Roswell United Methodist Church this week on the topic of “First Impressions” I cautioned against the gravitational pull to focus on the “skin deep” and encouraged instead to reach deeper for changes to character which wrinkles and aches cannot fade but that make more of an impact on someone who is REALLY looking.
Question is: Is anyone really looking? Looking deeper than the obvious? Ann Curry’s tearful announcement of her exit from the Today show after fifteen years on the team was heart wrenching. She obviously was devastated about the decision foisted on her and said as much.
I am not a regular viewer of the Today show but it is interesting to note that she has been a valued member of the team for over fifteen years and was asked a year ago to co-host. She is now still going to be operating under “some fancy new titles” (as she calls it) for the same network which tells me she is still good at her job. Unfortunately, the ratings dipped a month ago and the “fix” was her departure. I wonder if her bosses could’ve worked with her to eliminate any perceived lack. She claims she was not given “enough time to work out the kinks”.
The truth is, Ann, these days we do not value relationships enough to “work with” or “stick with” them. We “love” easily and momentarily – same as we do ice-cream or the latest shoe fad – a love that is skin deep – a lust.
Of course based on our current culture, when we think of the word lust we think only in sexual terms. However, the real definition of lust is “an overwhelming desire or craving” – for sex, money, food, power, importance, a person, a thing etc. It has a temporary, initial high, which fades and we move on without a second thought to the destruction or pain left behind.
Ann Curry realized “they’re giving me some fancy new titles”, to make the break sound more palatable. We too couch our relationship breaks in socially acceptable jargon like:
- It didn’t work out
- I’m so busy
- I don’t have the time or energy to devote to it anymore
- My tastes have changed
- We are not compatible anymore
- I need to stay true to my “priorities”
- My “priorities” have changed
- It’s not you, it’s me
- You deserve better
- I don’t want to cause you pain
- I get emotional when I think about our relationship so I can’t deal with it.
- I still really “love” and care about you but…
Socially acceptable yes but LAME!
In the movie “Pretty Woman”, Julia Roberts – the prostitute, looks around at the crowd at the races and comments to Richard Greer – the millionaire businessman: “If these are your friends, no wonder you came looking for me”. How ironic that it takes a prostitute to actually see the value of relationships.
1 Corinthians 13: If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of inspired preaching and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
I am reminded of the words of a psychologist to me, many years ago. She said “in thirty years of practice, I have never seen a relationship that didn’t make it despite all odds if BOTH parties really wanted to and I have never seen a relationship survive where ONE party wanted out”.
It’s tragic that the “left behind” party almost always feels like a failure – in Ann’s words “I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line”. If we are able to see beyond the tears, we would realize that it takes both parties to get to the finish line. The person who dismisses the relationship is really the “failure”. Ann, it’s our disposable mindset based on our lusts, where landfills are overflowing with the waste – the waste of human capital; because we do not REALLY invest for the long term. We are greedy and emotional, seeking immediate gains; failing which, we move on to perceived “higher yields”.
Unfortunately I have mistaken true lust for true love myself before and have felt the grief and anguish of that reality. I think of all those young ladies and gentlemen just starting out in life. I think of my daughter and wish I could shield her from that bottomless, excruciating, dose of pain – but I can’t. I can only caution her to look deeper to find real relationships. To caution her that real love does not feel good for a short time, it isn’t something that evaporates with the blistering sun or gets washed away with the storms. True love and relationships are a test of endurance. True love is the rainbow after the storm.
1 Corinthians 13: 7 Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
When you have true love you want to hold on to it forever. To all of you in my life that have chosen to weather the storms with me, I appreciate it more than you could know and I thank God for you.