At present, when haste commands, it is not easy to find one’s place. Everything is changing, you can never be sure of anything. We must follow the movement of others, unable to stop where and when we would like to.
This obsession with mobility, certainly facilitated by technical and communicative progress, has influenced greatly human relationships. We have neither time nor energy for the others. Under these circumstances, always on the run, we are not able to stop, notice or listen to the people who enter our lives and those we leave behind. Everyone is fighting for a better position, for a wider and safer space where (s)he can continue to rush forwards.
This movement can have different forms. It crosscuts all the spheres of our lives and its character is not purely physical. It processes our relations, enters also our ambitions. We live according to the imperative to “do” something in order to succeed. And it is fine, you might say. Otherwise the movement we are talking about would make no sense. But the latter digs in the goals each one of us has or should have.
We need both the movement and space. This is how the world is structured at present. But we are many and our paths intertwine. Someone enters our space, and the same happens to us. We become an obstacle for them. We become impediments for one another. It makes us angry and separates us more and more. We see the others as a threat. And we begin to jealously protect our path and our goals. Only the strongest and fastest matter.
Under these conditions we may agree or not, but the choice is: shall we join the race or … Exactly: What would be the alternative? Following the Gospel – and in particular a phrase recently recalled by Pope Francis – we can begin to think about what do the others feel. Just do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Hence: do not cross their paths, do not disturb their traffic. To this regard, the letter to the Romans is very clear: Each of us shall try to please the neighbours so as to edify them. Christ did not seek to like himself (Rom 15, 3.4).
Very often, in our relations, we fell almost trampled by the others who come with their own ideas (or obsessions) and treat us as an obstacle that needs to be removed. Nothing new for a Christian! But we can ask ourselves where can making room for the others lead? Will they not become more demanding and shameless? We cannot know this, but surely our own existence would become more serene.
Making room for the other, we can hope to diminish their anger and perhaps also to break the obsessive circle of escalation towards competition. In the end, let us not forget that above all this, there is God who has made much room for men – to the point of making himself crucify – and rise again. Basically: when someone wants to speak without listening, let them do so. If your skills are not appreciated enough and someone who is more limited is put in your place, let it be so. All of these situations, if well supported, are nothing more than our confession of faith in Jesus; they will never be forgotten…