Near and Naked - Thought for the week 19 April

Near and Naked


“Naak en naby” was the interesting title of an influential book for marriage counsellors. Directly translated it means “Naked and near”.

The main thesis of the book was that life partners have a way of becoming very, very close in all ways (not only in a physical sense) as their marriage develops and ideally the couple should be prepared for such a life of intense proximity.

A few years later the author therapist brought out an addendum to that top-seller; it was entitled “Ruimte vir twee”, translated as “Space for two”. Clearly a bit of a corrective acknowledging that there definitely is a need for enough space for the each partner to develop their own unique personalities, needs and aspirations in this life-long partnership.

These days of compulsory confinement I am again aware of significant others’ need for both collective closeness AND individual separateness for them to be fulfilled. This time it is not only relevant for marriage couples but for all housemates as we are confined to our houses. For at least 6 weeks on end, non-stop – but who know, possibly even longer.

For those amongst us who do not have significant others nearby this can become a very lonely time, especially if you love company or being around other people. For those of us who are confined with others 24/7 for many weeks on end this can become a frustratingly claustrophobic time, especially if you need your own space private to be yourself.

This can be challenging. It can also be enriching. It is the type of trial that pushes our boundaries and tests our mettle. It can be the type of pressure that Saint James mentions in his letter in the Bible when he counter-intuitively challenges us to “count as pure joy”! Why? He believes it gives our faith, our character the opportunity to grow and be tested so that it can be purified. Like gold being purified in a furnace from its impurities.

May you and I give ourselves and others enough gracious space and enough involved support so that we can grow emotionally and spiritually through this period of being both too far away and too close to one another.


Rev Alan Childs



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