Tension

Warning: This is going to be a fairly long post. I would like to think it is worth reading, but if you are just not up for reading long blogs, then you can go ahead & scroll to the bottom. I put a picture at the end of this just for you!
Have you ever been to the Postsecret page? A fascinating experiment where people write a secret confession on a postcard & then send it to a postbox in the states where they take a picture of it & then put it up on the website.
It’s fascinating reading. Creativity, and confession. It makes me wonder though. Who would send one of these in? Who is seeking absolution for their secret shame by posting to a strange individual & then sharing with the world? What drives us to the need for some kind of confession in the first place? Maybe it fulfils desires for both infamy and anonymity? That’s possible I’m sure. Maybe, though, it’s about finding a way to relive the tension in life. The taught wire that lies between our thoughts and our experience, or worse, our thoughts, and everyone else’s thoughts of us!
This all came up, as things tend to, as I walked down the street to grab dinner.
Life is tension.
Our Tension is in our relationships.
It’s the distance between being comfortable with who I am as a single man, and the yearning you feel to love another fully and to be loved. Or it is the tension between wanting to love and honour someone in a holy and sacrificial way, and the realisation that I have failed, one way or another, to do that in all of my relationships to date.
The relational tension in family is played out through the attention you expect from your family and the time you devote to being consistent in your attending to them.
Our relationship with the day to day people is possibly one of the greatest tensions of all, threatening to warp everything. When you sit back & honestly reflect on your own character who can reconcile the difference between other people’s perception of you and the reality of your actions, or maybe just your thoughts? The confident and competent image you manage to groom vs. the fractured and fumbling man who gazes at you in the mirror of a morning?
I guess it is really an existential thing. People struggle with the tension between the need (or want) to view mankind as essentially good and the evidence through social injustice, capitalistic rape, fruitless war and general discontentment, and our ambivalence to them all which implies quite the opposite.
So what is the answer? How do I reconcile a thousand aspects of my character that seem to be contradictory? An eagerness to bury myself in classic literature with a willingness to go & see the latest X-men movie? A character that, like so many men, wants to find some definition through one’s physical prowess, lying in tension with a body, broken and unable to achieve what once came easy?
Is Postsecret the solution I need? Is absolution found in an anonymous card to a foreign country? Is it hiding behind Psychology? Maybe Psychiatry? If I’m honest about my past? If I am cautious about my future? Less risks? More risks? A dumbing down to the basics, or seeking solace in the symmetry of the sophisticated?
The answer, not too surprisingly, lies behind possibly the greatest tension of all. We’re a people who feel like we have eternity written on our hearts, but we are confronted with the fact that life (at least life as we know it) comes to an end.
God holds on to a tension too. That these people, His creation are sinful, petty and small minded, essentially devoid of characteristics that would inculcate a feeling of love or admiration, yet He loves us with an everlasting love, expressed ultimately in the sacrifice of His son on the cross.
And there’s the greatest tension right there. That the piece of silver, or gold adorning our necks, the fashion accessory of stars and kids alike, is the symbol of the place where all of the tension between God and man was born in the body of the one whom had never caused it in the first place.
So just one tension remains. That of being between the gift that God graciously offers and that which humbly I receive.
Slingshot
OK, for the patient…. an old pic I took of Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness.

5 thoughts on “Tension

  1. Heyhey.. After reading your blog, it reminded me of how little we have caught up this semester… will have to sit down and chat in 2 weeks time… might see you one day while walking in the hallways… well across the courtyard…

  2. You had no need to think that this post was worthwhile reading Tim – it definatley is.
    In a little way i’d like to say ‘thanks’ – for verbalising so eloquently the tension/s that i (and probably many of us) feel every day – i guess somedays we just feel it more than others huh? Seems to me that everyday there are a new set of questions that we try and work through – always wanting to be better…different…more the complete person that we were made to be back in Eden…
    I hope that you work through some of the things that you’re thinking on at the moment, and that exams go ok.
    Let me know when you want that photo expedition day!

  3. Tim, your posts are always worth reading! And, like jodi said, thank you for verbalising such tensions – you’re so wise! I can definately relate to and have also had some of those thoughts on my mind of late.
    I guess the thing is, ultimately, you ended that post with what is probably the best and most important way to end it…cos although there are those tensions there is the grace of God that helps us to get through all the others, if that makes sense? Interesting though how God many of these tensions are part of God’s plan…
    anyway, cool post dude 🙂 As much as i love your pics, am enjoying reading some of your thoughts again!

  4. Awesome post! So many good things to think about…seriously. Thanks for commenting on my blog too 🙂 Miss you guys a lot!

  5. Hi Tim,
    A very deep and meaningful piece.
    I hope that within this apparent termoil there is some peace and happiness – you deserve it.

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