PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Saturday, August 05, 2006

 

Emotional detachment


The word detachment has always meant physical detachment to me. Thankfully I would get a passing mark in this department. Or would I?

It has never before occurred to me that the call to detachment can also mean detachment from nonmaterial desires such as fame, achievement, and the desire to be liked and to be understood. It didn't easily occur to me that it can mean detaching myself from emotional attachment.

A recent breakup with my major relationshiips proved to me how much I was still in the clutches of this particular weakness. Almost overnight, I lost all of my good friends, people I grew up with in this novel business of renewal, relationships I have nurtured in favor of all other relationships I had, be it familial or the once-familiar.

Amidst my anguish, I asked God to please spare me my friends, at least.

But the ensuing course of events gave me a very clear answer: Steer clear of your old attachments.

Where I used to spend weekends with a lot of friends, I would endure long weekend hours alone at home. Even my weekdays were not spared. Where I got accustomed to attending to this and that event together, of course, with this and that group of individuals, I was now going home alone - and commuting (whereas I used to have a choice of taking somebody's car).

Among the singles in the new community I have chosen to belong, it was only M. whom I could count as close to being close to me. (A lot of it had to do with the age range.) Ironically, she was someone I used to consider to be very much incompatible with my personal tastes and interests.

"You know what," she told me over the phone in the days after the bitter separation, "I guess the Lord is teaching us to detach ourselves from our emotional attachments."

In a moment of epiphany, I could only reply an anemic, "What you said is beautiful!"

M. was in a position far worse than I. She used to attend regular taheebo classes with the other girls, not to mention the frequent stay-overs at each other's house, the outings in this and that out-of-town trip - activities that bonded them closer than biological sisters. And yet she was able to readily say what she just told me.


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