When I was growing up, my mom would dutifully spend a great deal of time over the stove cooking our meals…all “from scratch.” It was to be expected that it would take a while. Still does. However, when it comes to leftovers, things have dramatically changed. Where she used to spend a significant amount of time warming up the leftovers on that stove, now she can just pop the dishes into the microwave and in 10 or 15 minutes everything is piping hot. It’s the microwave fix for cold leftovers.
The idea is not limited to refrigerated leftovers, but to many other things in life. Bigger things. Much more important things. Things like healing and reconciliation.
It seems to me that many things in life are addressed with a “microwave fix” in mind. Racism. Bigotry. Sexism. Religion. Politics. Sound bites are thrown around. The myriad of clichés that cloud our conversations. They are the shortcuts to health that we all use, but which prove eternally ineffective in addressing the deep issues that must be given the light of day. And when someone attempts to dig deep, we tend to dig a hole in which to stick our heads and hope it just goes away.
Only to discover – there is no replacement for the hard work of building healthy relationships.
My wife and I are in therapy. The sessions are focused, not on fixes for my sexual orientation, but on saving our marriage. A marriage that is very dear to the both of us. On learning how to have a thriving mixed-orientation marriage. This therapy is proving very helpful.
At the same time, though, it can be a dangerous thing. If we fall into the trap of believing that the therapy is the “fix-all” for our relationship by giving us some kind of silver bullet to fix our problems, or if we expect just a few sessions will iron out all the wrinkles we will soon be disappointed. Because of the nature of human relationships, the health of our marriage will take lots of hard work on our part, and it might just take the rest of our married life together to proactively work through all the issues.
Reconciliation is difficult to achieve, because we have to submit ourselves to the timetable of the process.
Health is difficult to maintain, because it requires discipline in an ever-changing environment.
In my former life as a minister I’ve taught from Psalm 23:2
He makes me lie down in green pastures
he leads me beside quiet waters
he refreshes my soul.
That passage is all about healing, restoration, renewal, and long-term health. And all that happens in the context of the right environment, the right sources of enrichment, and the right amount of time. It is the opposite of a few minutes in a microwave.
I have no illusions of what this journey holds for us. It will take everything we have.
And so it should.
I expect nothing less for the most important relationship of my life.