Going beyond transactional relationships

It is surprisingly, achingly, difficult to push past the transactional in our relationships, and into the transcendent. Yet we must try.

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Everyone craves connection.

But so often we exist on the level of the transactional.

What is going on with you?

How was your weekend? 

I want to move into the level of transcendent relationships.  What is beyond my normal experiences.

How are you. Today? Right Now?
It is surprisingly, achingly, difficult to push past the transactional in our relationships, and into the transcendent.  After all, the transactional is a lot of what we do: sleep, eat, wake, talk, do.

There is beauty in the transactional, I won’t lie to you.  I want to tell my friends how fun my weekend was, the birthday parties, the beaches.  I want to tell the story of how Ethan got stuck on a playground in a playhouse window, like a little monkey, screaming “Mama!  Save me!”

But it’s death to leave our relationships in the transactional level, where all of life is a calendar of activities.  Where you are stuck looking at the world from the perspective of causality.  This happened and this resulted, plain and simple.

I want to live in a world where I talk about the birthday parties, but also the wisdom we’ve gained getting older. I want to talk about the absurdity of parenting, but also the effort I’m putting in trying to shape a moral human being, one who cares about his friends.  I want transcendent relationships, rising above the clouds of the mundane.
I want to be able to say “I’m [physically] tired because I work now.”   But I do myself a disservice if I don’t also talk about the possibility that I may be existentially tired because I have not learned how to nurture my soul during the soul-sucking 10hr/week  commute.  I truly believe the answer to tired problem goes beyond “Go to bed earlier.”

I still cannot believe how difficult it is to live in the transcendent, despite the time I spent reflecting in worship at a church service every week, the time I spend journalling, and the blog posts I love reading on lunch breaks about the more of life. After all, this is a world where I may only see true friends once or twice a week, and possibly only for an hour or two at a time, it is hard to get beyond the transactional.

If it’s hard with old friendships, it’s triply hard with the new friendships, where you need to joyfully spend the time in those early conversations with transactional conversation such as “Where do you live,” “What are your hobbies?”

This isn’t a blog post with a tidy solution at the end – I wish it was. For all of my desires to live beyond the everyday, to read about the best questions to draw out friends and family, and my active attempts to practice it, I still catch myself going days without looking under the surface of my experiences, or prying the lid off glib responses of “good” to “how was your day.”

But I try.


If you liked this reflection, you will also enjoy – A midsummer reflection on spiritual gifts, and advice for the inbetween times.

Author: Beth M

Life Lessons, Parenting, Books, Sustainability.

1 thought on “Going beyond transactional relationships”

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