We are becoming…
This is the state of human existence…we are becoming…something.
What are we becoming? It depends and varies from person to person but this is the broad simple reality that can be applied to the endlessly complex circumstance known as life.
I think it is important that we try to live in this ‘becoming’ and acknowledge it. Acknowledging it means acknowledging that every night when we go to sleep we put to death the person that existed that day and awake as this new and in-flux person the next day.
In fact living is the process of constantly putting to death our old selves – day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment (how small can we get) – you get the point.
Change is the only constant about who you are. If you are not changing you are dead or in denial.
To know this about yourself is important. To know this about others is also nearly as important. Knowing that the people we love…the people we are friends with or family with, change, will help us maintain the relationship and ground it in reality.
This is why icons are dangerous. Icons are static images designed to point us in the direction of that which the icon reflects. They are designed to point us toward something to worship. We have a habit of turning people into icons. We iconize the person we met in the pub in 1998; we iconize our child on the day they achieved honour roll, etc. The icon itself is not even a simple and true image of the real person but an idealized portrait and our own creation. By doing this we turn people into dead images of a dream or wish and in the meantime the real person who is alive and changing (becoming) is being lost in favour of the dead. We have become idolaters.
We must uncover these icons and destroy them wherever we find them if we want any hope of a real relationship. This is what it means to be an iconoclast, a destroyer of images. (This is likely what God meant when he said not to create any image of any thing in heaven or on earth – the image destroys the real which is murder one way or another).
The longer it takes to root out and destroy the icon the more likely it is that the other person has since journeyed a very long way from what the iconic ideal was based on and we find ourselves faced with a stranger and thus realize that there is no relationship and has not been one in a very long time.
Of course the real struggle is that we all need to be destroying icons and aware of our becoming because it is not enough for one person in a relationship to do this. You may very well be in relationship with the real, becoming person in your life only to find out that they are not in relationship with you but with a portrait of you that they painted 10 years ago.
So take out your hammer and start destroying…destroy that icon of yourself and then shatter the images you have of others that you might be free to celebrate who you really are, who others really are and know that you are known for who you really are and what you are becoming.
Afterword: Destroying the icons we have of ourselves can sometimes force us to confront our real selves in a way that is uncomfortable. We may come to learn that who we really are is not really a very good person. The good news is that seeing the cracks allows you to begin the process of filling them and actively participating in your own becoming.
You should also know that just because you have come to a place where you see another person for who they are rather than the idol you may have created does not mean you can start filling their cracks for them. A person needs to see themselves for who they are and ASK for help if they desire it…otherwise what you are doing is simply creating a new idol, without all the flaws you perceive.