Should this post be here or there? The rule keeper side of me says here, as it seems an exact year should elapse before I post back over there, and that will be Nov. 28. The free spirited, follow your heart, don’t be a pharisee side of me says, go ahead, impulsively jump back. And the title suits a come-back. Then why not just wait 16 more to post this? Wait? When it’s hot off the press?! Are you crazy? Maybe I’ll just double post in 16 days. There.
Back to the Buckaroo Banzai title, or “What is the Nature of Opposition?”. Am I about to say heretical universalist things? We’ll see. The movie quote can imply that you take your problems with you when you go somewhere else. Does that mean that things can’t get better by leaving a bad or unwelcome situation? Yes and no.
Let’s say that souls are immortal after birth, not before. Another presupposition to my hypothesis is that relationships do not depend on proximity, even though the ones we are conscious of started out that way. I wont define proximity because one can have real or perceived relationships through media such as oral tradition, letters, newspapers, and more modern modes. I’ll not even define relationships as those that exist between live, concurrent people, because we also have relationships with things, animals, and even fictionally made up things, which I believe have some ground in real relatable things. So my answer of “things don’t get better by leaving” regards the permanence of the existence of things we are seeking to get away from, and our relationship to them.
Then why do some experience relief at separation from a bad situation? Distance and space can calm a person down. Close proximity can exacerbate negative, or unwelcome responses. This is why an alcoholic can’t have just one drink, but since his response to alcohol doesn’t change, he is avoiding acting on a (mostly) permanent relationship. And I think this is why St. Mary of Egypt stayed in the desert. As soon as she saw Elder Zosima she brought up how she relates to men, after 47 years of celibacy and prayer.
So surely some situations are better than others, and it is best to leave a detrimental one for a nurturing one. Yes, nurturing is the word. This implies growth and maturity. Immaturity is the variable. People are eternal, but their level of maturity is not. A charitable way of looking at dysfunctional situations is to say that negative behaviors are the result of immaturity. But some people may never grow up. This is intolerable because a little kitten scratching and chewing on your hand is cute, but a big, strong cat ripping you to shreds is to be avoided. As a body matures, so should one’s self-control. If it doesn’t, distance may be required, and then one will feel better. But will one’s skill in training cats improve? Not automatically. One may learn from one’s mistakes. It is another matter whether it was too late to learn better techniques with the same cat or to start all over. One can become fixed in a bad habit, apparently. But whether one leaves or stays, that cat will always be with him or her. To keep from getting into the possible immortality of animals, I will switch to inter-human relationships, not that eternal relationships with finite things aren’t also possible. One more thing about maturity, a Saint, a mature Christian, is less scathed by harsh treatment than an immature or disabled (don’t be ashamed) Christian. But then again, animals act tamer around Saints.
The third presupposition is implied from Hebrews 12 (22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect) and St. Macarius. “Within the heart is an unfathomable depth. There are reception rooms and bedchambers in it, doors and porches, and many offices and passages. In it is the workshop of righteousness and of wickedness. In it is death, in it is life…. The heart is Christ’s palace…There Christ the King comes to take His rest, with the angels and the spirits of the saints, and He dwells there, walking within it and placing His kingdom there.” (Homilies 15:32-33). I suppose it would be universalist to say that we take all of those with whom we have relationships with us wherever we go. But I think we do take the relationships with us, as well as the memories that can spark feelings. Negative feelings that we want to avoid can be diminished by distance, but I don’t think we are healed of them if the memory still causes pain. Perhaps a safe place of refuge is what we need till we are healed of it, and who knows if it will be healed in this life. Let’s say it wont. Then one will be crippled and wounded in the new place, but maybe more comfortable. There is no sickness in heaven. So whether the person at the other end of the painful relationship is in heaven or not, the dwellers of heaven wont be negatively affected, eventually.
Let’s say the person with whom one requires distance is also a member of the heavenly kingdom and is likewise on the path to maturity. Eventually both will be healed enough to be able to stand proximity to each other in a blessed way. This is not to say all negative feelings are bad. Some are probably growing pains and calls to humility, and can thus become nurturing opportunities. But some, whether based in passions, bad habits, blindness, or woundedness, can cause earthly distance. But the relationship to the person in the heart of those being saved is one of future realities where immaturity and weakness will be done away and both will be seen as the beautiful creatures they truly are, or at least, will be.