Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger:
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood.
– Henry V (5.3.44-51) [ht: About.com]
There are just some times when it’s better to keep my mouth shut. It started with a twitter post on "once saved, always saved" – innocuous enough, but I thought the twitterer was actually looking for responses. I replied, others chimed in, but not the original tweeter. That should’ve been my first omen, seeing that someone was posting a question just for the sake of posting, sending a link with no room for comment just for the sake of getting free web hits. But the back and forth twits, short 140-character statements, that ensued with others caused the rift that I’m feeling now. From my perspective, the impasse was mostly syntax and supposition – but increasingly, I think I was seen as the antagonist asking someone to move off their rock of faith.
That was Thursday, and on Friday I was left unconnected, unable to respond twitteringly to my friend after our conversation. In each making our respective stands, you could say, something cracked. The strand of whatever was holding the relationship together was severed – and I’ve got to say that there’s a deep sadness in me that something like this has happened again, that it’s had to happen once more. And that’s the thing. This isn’t meant to put down the other person here, because I don’t think this is a "wrong" thing – we need to be able to draw boundaries like that sometimes, and I’m okay with it. But isn’t there a better way sometimes, a path that leads to better relationship and understanding rather than cutting the cord? I really hope there’s a reconnect in the future. But from past experience, I know that’s a long shot unless something radical happens on the inside. The folks I’ve "cut cords with" have not come back, nor I to them, and I can’t help but feel that we ourselves and the world at large is the worse for it in some way.
"They will know you by our love one for another" means more than our cordial buddy-ness on Sunday mornings passing in the church foyer, or on discussion boards, or in the blogs and coffeeshops and Christian bookstores of our lives. It means giving the time and space – and, to be honest, it means earning the time and the space – in each other’s lives to make our stands, to seek understanding, to give the benefit of my doubt and look for a way for both of us to grow, not just prove myself "right".
In the end this time, once again I’m left with the feeling that I wasn’t worth the time or the heart to work out the differences. It wasn’t worth it to let me disagree agreeably, and it was better to cut ties altogether. Instead of opening ourselves to what might have been a better thing, I’m left alone to wonder what went wrong. And I still want to give that same benefit of the doubt that wasn’t afforded to me. It wasn’t a close friendship, wasn’t culturally or socially like making an enemy – but it feels like a rip nonetheless, because the possibility of a friendship growing over time now seems like such an improbability.
Sometimes I keep my mouth shut for the damage it can do. Sometimes my twittering brings destruction upon the world.