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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

You Are Driving Me up the Wall

Allan Burry was Chaplin of the Wesley Foundation when I was an undergraduate at USF in 1964.  He said once that if you love someone, you need to tell them when and if they are “driving you up the wall.”  That remark has stuck with me all these years because too often it seems the definition of love means we must lose all objectivity and even honesty.  We must suffer all offenses—no matter how egregious—to show our love.  “Walk all over me as much as you please,” is the attitude mistakenly assumed.  What is wrong with this approach?  Basically, it undermines a relationship because hypocrisy and insincerity become the modus operandi of the relationship.  Issues that obviously are important become covered over, resulting in resentment.  Maybe in small matters of courtesy, insincerity is not overly serious, but in recurring matters that are “driving you up the wall” they obviously are important and need to be addressed.  Not to speak up when called for does not show love or tolerance or patience, it shows a misunderstanding of love as subjective “touchy-feely” stuff that totally leaves out the most basic form of truth—objectivity relating to direct experience.  This undermines love as a serious approach to meeting the challenges of life.  It cheapens love to a syrupy greeting card sentiment completely cut off from real interactions.  Such sentimentality becomes a haven of cowards.  It no longer is an important tool for navigating human relationships.  In the end, it may even show a patronizing attitude—the offended one is too elevated and strong and the offending person is too low and weak to merit dealing with the truth on a sincere and straight forward level.  A high regard for the concept of love as a discipline of human behavior requires due diligence to prevent the concept from becoming a cheap, tawdry imitation rightly reviled as a means for meeting the requirements of reality.

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