[OPINION] A tribute to our silent heroes
Some relationships last. Many others don’t.
Letting go of people with whom we have only tangential connections is so much easier. In the workplace, for example, that people come and go is normal.
While we might be loyal to our industry, the fact is that the office is not designed to be run emotionally. In sociological terms, the bureaucracy is an organization that operates based on rules, roles, and functions. Employees who fail to uphold them will be removed.
Thus we have the workplace mantra that no one is indispensable.
But letting go is difficult when intimacies are involved. Why?
Intimacy and intricacy
Friendships and romantic relationships are complex not only because they are emotional. While emotions underpin intimacy, there is so much more that complicates these profound human connections. (READ: Things I've learned about love)
Deep friendships and intimate relationships are built on shared dispositions. In our changing society, to look for commonalities is especially true because human relationships no longer revolve around predetermined settings like the family and the neighborhood.
Mobility, interest groups, and social media widen one’s options exponentially.
Hence we readily discover a special connection with those who have similar interests or hobbies. The connection becomes deeper when we discover we have similar experiences. All the more it becomes meaningful when our hopes and dreams converge. (READ: What makes a 'healthy and happy relationship?')
Shared dispositions bring us together in a way that our stories become theirs and theirs become ours.
Intimacy, in other words, is intricacy.
But for one reason or another, these intimate relationships end. To lose these relationships in which we find ourselves intricately entangled is painful.
How do I let go of a person whose story has become mine?
Deep friendships and intimate relationships may fall apart. But this should not render us defeated.
Not all is lost for around us are silent heroes.
They are the ones who remain when others leave us. They are the ones who offer consolation when the world rejects us. They are the ones who fight the battle on our behalf.
Longstanding companions, loyal mentors, and the most faithful relatives are just some of these silent heroes.
But these heroes are silent not only because we ask them to listen to us.
They are silent for no words are needed the moment they see us in our helpless state.
Something about these silent heroes makes them irreplaceable. They will not restrain themselves when they know we are in the wrong. They call a spade a spade and then they offer their embrace.
Desiring only what’s good for us, their presence is both reassuring and corrective.
Taken for granted
There is, however, a harsh reality for many of us. We take our silent heroes for granted. We assume that they are well. We consider them on call if and when we need them.
Our silent heroes are perhaps the least appreciated among our relationships. After all, we assume that they are ever-present.
Here’s the catch. Whenever we get caught in the whirlwind of life or the excitement of romance, we leave them in the corner.
Silent heroes are often unsung.
And yet they choose to stay anyway. By simply being there, they tell us that some relationships do endure. They stand the test of time.
Why do they stay?
They do because they are not mere bureaucrats who uphold rules and fulfill roles in a transaction. They are human beings who feel us. They are the ones who love us.
The German sociologist Max Weber is thus right in saying that “it is not accidental that our greatest art is intimate and not monumental.” To him authenticity and sublime values make genuine communities possible.
In times like these, the capacity to love to the end is also the capacity to resist. It resists that which says human relationships are bound to fail. It says no to transience for it believes that we are worth defending to the end.
At the heart of relationships that last is this capacity to love courageously. This piece is a tribute to all the silent heroes in our lives. – Rappler.com
Jayeel Cornelio, PhD is a sociologist in the Development Studies Program at the Ateneo de Manila University and a 2017 Outstanding Young Scientist of the National Academy of Science and Technology. He is the editor of the forthcoming volume Rethinking Filipino Millennials: Alternative Perspectives on a Misunderstood Generation (UST Publishing House). Follow him on Twitter @jayeel_cornelio.