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  • Writer's pictureJoe Cherry

Cultivating Relationship

Time was when we'd live in a place forever. We might never travel more than 8 miles from home in our entire life, but those times have gone for most of us. Now, instead of having a more or less ready made community, we find ourselves having to create one for ourselves.

When we were little it seemed like the nearest convenient kid our own age became a good friend. Our world was limited to where our little feet could take us, and that made the pickings somewhat limited. As we grew, and life offered us more options, making friends became harder for some. It could be a combination of schedules, commitments, and even past traumas that have wizened and hardened us the longer we’ve been in this adventure called Life.

One of the many lessons that many of us have learned in the past 18 months or so is that human beings are profoundly social animals. Even those of us who have never loved big, loud crowds have discovered how deeply troubling loneliness can be.

And right now we are living along the tension wire of this virus, which makes the thing we need the most, human contact, potentially dangerous.

It’s an evolving story that none can claim to know it’s end, if it will end. It may never end, and only become in the future some minor annoyance. It’s hard to know.

During this time of pandemic safety behavior, we’ve had to really wrestle with how we cultivate relationship with the other humans. The old ways are, if temporarily, gone.

How have you learned to cultivate relationships in the last months? Have you found ways that are satisfying to you, or are you stuck with ways that don’t feel quite complete?

I think that this pandemic hasn’t brought us much that is new, it has just brought the struggles we already had into sharper focus.

When we were little kids, we used our imagination as a way of focusing on the world around us. We created stories, of vet clinics, or space ships, or kitchens where we baked amazing cakes! As we think about how we might cultivate relationships in our own time now, as either adults, or adults to be, I invite you to use the full power of your imagination, to bring the full force of your creativity, to ways that cultivate new relationships and celebrate life long ones.

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Rev. Joe Cherry

Rev. Joe is a biracial, gay, Unitarian Universalist minister, and history nerd. He lives in North Easton, Massachusetts, with his husband, Rev. Denis Paul, and their dog, Toulouse.

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