The Relational Economy: The Vault
- 2010 7 Oct
I will not lie to you; the cost of being real may be high. People may take advantage of you—or at least try. There are no guarantees in the relational economy. Every investment could see a downturn in the market. Every relationship could end before marriage and sadly even marriages end. We, however, are not left as orphans but have a living hope (John 14:18, 1 Peter 1:3).
Fear and worry can cause us to hide the deepest part of us in a safe deposit box, but that box does not sit out in the open. If we are really scared or have been deeply wounded, we will place the box in a vault with walls twenty feet thick and a series of alarms. In essence, we will hide ourselves in that vault.
By the time we build the vault, life has truly taken its toll. If we build the vault, few may ever truly know us again. A person who builds a vault and sets to guard their very self walks through life in a daze. They may eventually marry and walk the aisle in the same stupor. That is sad.
I used to get so frustrated and burnt on the effort of trying to date that I would talk about going to an island far away from EVERYONE! Quite simply I wanted to escape. I wanted to run away. I wanted to be somewhere completely safe where no one could hurt me. I would sing;
"I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock, I am an island."*
I was not a rock nor was I an island but those words seemed so attractive to me. The island and the vault seemed like places of safety.
"You can't just go away!" my friend Roger would say.
"Why not," I would ask.
"Because you have too much to give the world."
I didn't always believe him, but I believed that HE BELIEVED IT!
And that meant a lot to me.
There seemed only one other way. To be truly me meant I had to leave myself vulnerable to hurt, open to betrayal, available for disappointment and failures. I had to leave my very soul open to rejection, my heart open to breaking. It didn't sound like much fun, but something in me understood it as living. Anything less was death.
I had to trust that my heart was NEVER in the hand of ANY girl or woman but in the hand of the one who made me and made me special. To be fully me meant I had to stay off the island, put off wishing I were a rock, and walk away from the vault.
So I risked and risked and risked and, in fact, as I grew more secure in GOD'S LOVE for me I risked even more. I don't mean I threw caution to the wind and acted unwisely. I simply moved from fearful passivity to faith filled action. I knew God had my back.
What took me a long time to realize is that failing in relationships did not make me a failure. The two once seemed inextricably linked and that was what made me want to hide in that vault.
We do not belong in vaults. We cannot live in vaults. Vaults are for inanimate things not living organisms. We were born and born again to be in the lives of others. We are people designed for relationships and not just dating or marriage, but all of life's relationships. We were made for relationships—period.
It is the pain and sorrow that push us into the vault. I was very tempted by the idea of going to a place where,
"I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock, I am an island."*
I longed to flee but nothing in me thought it wise to be in a place where "I touched no one and no one touche[d] me." That seemed neither safe nor wise. It sounded evil and so contrary to the will of God I reasoned it must have come from the author of lies—Satan.
Had God wanted us to be alone or untouched he would never have given us the gift of reproduction. He would never have said, "be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:22). If God had wanted us untouched, he would never have placed us in The Body of Christ—the Church (Galatians 5:13). He would have dropped each of us on an island or made each of us live isolated lives in the desert. He would have made for each of us a vault in which we could hide "safe within [our] womb."
I discovered along the way that the vault is sterile in its safety. I discovered that the vault is cold in its comfort. The silence of a vault is haunting, and when we want to touch or be touched there would be no one. After all, to invite anyone into the vault is to risk their touch. There is that outside chance that you might just care for them and that they might leave. They might just hurt you.
Touch can mean pain. Loving can mean loss. It would be nice to put away such human frailties, but we cannot do it and remain human.
We are not rocks or islands and are not made to live in vaults. Many have become rocks and shut off their tears, but who would want to marry a rock or an island? Who would want to marry someone who never feels and never cries? A rock feels no pain, but a rock doesn't know love and cannot be tender. While an island never cries, an island never laughs or sings, dances or cuddles.
Look around you. If the walls you have built have served to isolate you from relationships, begin the frightening but necessary process of tearing them down. Get up and get out. Walked out of the vault and take up this new song:
"The LORD is my rock,
my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock,
in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation,
my stronghold" (Psalms 18:2).
It is this song that speaks of who and what we are to be—not a rock but human. Come out and join the land of the living. Out here is the reality of pain and loss and joy and happiness and love exists. It is called LIVING! Whatever you do don't avoid it.
*Simon and Garfunkle, "I Am a Rock"
Hudson Russell Davis was born on a small Island in the West Indies called Dominica, and this is only one reason he does not like cold weather and loves guava. He is a graduate of James Madison University with a B.A. in Graphic Design and earned a Masters in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Currently he is a Ph.D. candidate at Saint Louis University studying historical theology. Hudson has worked as a graphic artist and worship leader but expresses himself through poetry, prose, photography, and music. His activities are just about anything outdoors, but tennis is his current passion. He and his wife Rachel were married in 2009.
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**This article first published on October 7, 2010.