When I was little my Father tried to teach us big words in simplified ways. The same way my mum broke down words like business into bus – i-ness or people into pe-o-ple to successfully pass spelling tests, so my Dad did, but for another reason. At the time I don’t think I realised, but in retrospect, the philosophical depth and insight he was sharing with us was a lot vaster than our nine-year-old minds could fully comprehend. To us it was just Dad going into one of his lectures just when we wanted to watch that specific Disney movie, or to finish the last pages of the enthralling fantasy or action book we begrudgingly held in our laps under the dinner table after being caught surreptitiously devouring a paragraph between mouthfuls.
One of the words and the way we learnt it really struck me today.
Communication: Come You and I into Action ( Come U and I into Action)
At the very essence of the word, which the concise OED defines as ‘1: the action of communicating 2: the means of sending or receiving information 3: the means of travelling or of transporting goods,’ my Dad, the Wise-One, has it spot on. Communication was and is the process of individuals or parties coming into action to share, receive, impart something. It is an integral part of our lives, our very essence of being. As humans we are made to be in relationship with one another, and not just in the way we conceive relationship today, but in its simplest form (reverting back to the concise OED) ‘1: the way in which two or more people or things are connected, or the state of being connected. 2: the way in which two or more people or groups regard and behave towards each other.’ We are called intrinsically into a connection with one another, to co-exist. Relationship is fundamental to the way we behave, and part of the that is the act of communicating.
So what happens when we can’t? Currently the only person left in my accommodation, there gets to a point when the music that blares from your speakers can only do so much to fill the void of human bodies. It becomes like your favourite blanket that once seemed to be a canvass which blotted out the night sky, and now hangs stretched and deformed, arthritic cloth-hands barely reaching over your midriff. Underneath it all is the permeating silence, the visible sense of loneliness which only leaves you. ‘You’ can be an extremely claustrophobic being. Suffocating and invasive.
‘You’ begin to crave communication in a way that transcends seeing Facebook notifications. The desire to hear the timbre of someone’s voice, see the crinkle of an active mouth. When my twin and I (finally) parted ways after sharing the same room, friends and schools since we were born, a sigh of relief and the muted cry of freedom filled my heart. Yet that distance made me desire contact even more, just as the quiet kitchens and bathrooms make me want my room mates to return, with all their quirky late night cheese eating, solo wine drinking, stressful juice gulping antics.
To come into action with other people. To speak, to share, to impart to relate to other people. It is a precious gift, fully realised when it is no longer present.
So i write these words, hoping that as you read them, regard them, as your behaviour changes in response to them, you and I will come into some form of action, the action of imparting something, an idea, a feeling, an insight, a part of me into a part of you. Let’s get relational.