I have a family member who might be like someone you know (or might even be like you). I think his main goal is life is to not offend people – he goes with the flow and tries his best to never rock the boat. He wants to avoid conflict at all cost. And while this attitude just plain fits well with his personality, I think the overriding motive behind it is just that he doesn’t want to see his loved ones get hurt.
This is the strategy that Inaba and, through the course of episode eight of Kokoro Connect, Taichi take. To avoid hurting their friends (and implied through several arguments between character, for selfish reasons), Taichi and Inaba become distant from them. But by the episode’s end, Fujishima’s words (directly) and Iori’s (written) reveal something to our knight in shining armor – some things are worth the pain. While hurt can cause us to regress, as with Yui, it can also push us to grow.
When faced with difficulties, sometimes extreme, we can respond by meeting the challenge. Iori, filled with pain centered on her lack of identity, grows past it and at this point in the series seems to be the character, ironically, most in touch with her emotions. Yui and Inaba, too, seemed to be coming out of the pain, before recent setbacks.
It’s often said that God will do what He needs to, including letting you be hurt, to push you to grow closer to Him. Call it divine tough love. I know for me, I spent years “growing” in my spiritual walk, unchallenged by any major setbacks. But when I had children, and life became very difficult (it’s definitely hard to be a good parent!) and even painful, I was pushed out my comfort zone. At first, and for years, I regressed and wondered why I was sliding back. Now, as I more genuinely respond to a gracious God, I feel more genuine growth, like a wildfire out of control, unlike my measured “growth” in earlier years.
Kokoro Connect has taken such an interesting turn in recent episodes, after Heartseed changed how he affected the CRC. Instead of largely personal triumphs or losses (strange, since it involved swapping bodies with one another), the group is now experiencing growth or regression in regards to their relationships with each other.
In strong friendships and marriages, there are times when one or both parties become angry. And there are times when one or both are hurt, sometimes deeply, sometimes almost irreparably. These are crossroads, where the relationship cannot stay on its current path – it must veer some direction. But which direction will it go?
Taichi and the rest face this fork right now. The friends are hurting one another – and indeed, they’ll continue doing so as they interact. Right now, there are three ways this can go – and this goes for regular friendships and relationships as well:
- Taichi (and we) can avoid others
- He and we can confront the problem and things can go badly
- He and we can confront the problem and things can go well
The earlier two have the same outcome, though: whether in a slow, withering fashion or in a dramatic free fall, both scenarios end in broken relationships.
But when we put forth our courage and work through the hurt, we have the opportunity to fix things. More than that, actually – we have the chance to grow our relationships. Because once you’ve gone through hell and high water with a friend, how much more will you love and trust that person? That’s what makes a strong friendship and that’s what makes a successful marriage – grace, love, and trust.
If you’re love is big enough, you’ll hurt yourself and you’ll hurt even hurt your friend, if it means doing what’s best for him. And hey, that’s okay.
After all, as they say, to see the rainbow, you have to go through the rain.