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Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.
Colossians 3: 12-14
How can I be sure in a world that’s constantly changing?
How can I be sure where I stand with you?
— Young Rascals, 1967, “How Can I Be Sure”
If the COVID-19 virus has done anything, it has “raised the bar” regarding what you and I can trust when it comes to news stories about social distancing, best practices for personal safety and, certainly, how people wanting to meet someone with whom they can spend the rest of their lives have further obstacles to do so.
You may have seen stories about the increased use of online dating sites. This opening paragraph from Dale Markowitz in The Atlantic in February, 2018 is prescient.
Seventy years ago, the Yale sociologist John Ellsworth Jr. was researching marriage patterns in small towns and concluded: “People will go as far as they have to to find a mate, but no farther.” This still seems to be the case in 2018. Though the internet allows us to connect with people across the globe near-instantly, dating apps like Tinder prioritize showing us nearby matches, the assumption being the best date is the one we can meet up with as quickly as possible with little inconvenience.
The ”best dates” come “as quickly as possible with little inconvenience”?
My recent discussions with younger Catholic friends have been instructive. They have met and are dating, to varying degrees, someone they consider very special, and are intending, at least, to pursue more intently. Two people in particular had an interesting response to their joy in meeting and learning about each other to my question:
How does it feel to be responsible to someone other than yourself?
From a recent conversant:
“I like it, but it can be difficult”.
I go back to an exchange of messages with a now-married young adult friend early on in her relationship with the fellow as she pondered the question..
You have someone in your life who, by all outward signs, is the most important individual to you right now.
You and ** have, no doubt, spent much time talking and sharing, at your pace. Sometimes, those conversations go where you may not want them to, but they have to go there. You cannot have anything come between you and that other person. Ever.
As to whatever inner issues are getting in the way, the path out of those issues is your decision.
If someone is to be your best friend, perhaps at times your only friend, the trust must be established. How to “know” this person is the one I can trust? (I get that question from time to time).
Recall Paul’s words:
(with) heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Enduring through the virus … finding “the one” and growing together. It is hard work, it can be difficult, but the reward, showing your love for each other to a distrustful world, is worth every effort.