One of the most boring things a parent has to do is attend kids’ birthday parties. Seriously, so boring. The only thing a parent can do there is chat with other parents, but sometimes, even that option is cut off. Particularly, if you’re an outsider at the party, the other parents might congregate with each other and leave you out, which can either irk you if you’re the talkative type, or seclude you if you’re not. The first time this happened to me, I was shocked, because I was attending a party full of churchgoers and pastors. I thought it must have been some exception, but repeatedly, I’ve seen this happen again and again and again (and as recently as yesterday), and particularly and mostly around Christians.
Why does this happen? It’s because we hate to get outside of our bubble.
In Oregairu, Hikigaya is as stuck in a bubble as much as anyone. Years of hurt, sensitivity, and ridicule have left him in a comfort zone of one (at least at school). He’d rather stay by himself, think, and observe than to actually interact with others.
But slowly and steadily, he’s breaking free of this bubble. At first, it was out of necessity – Hikigaya was forced to interact with Yukino and with anyone who came to the volunteer club for assistance. Now, Hikigaya is understanding the value of relationships and is starting to break through his self-imposed solitary life because, hey, he now has friends whom he cares about, and caring requires us to reach out despite discomfort.
Last week, I argued that it’s taken a long time for Hikigaya to come to this realization, and that episode seven was a sort of turning point to him. However, I’ve been convinced by Guy of Geekorner-Geekulture who told me that he thinks Hiki has been changing since season one, with his heart even then realizing what his mind couldn’t, that his way isn’t necessarily the right way. It’s nice to see him slowly changing through the course of the series – it reflects the state of his heart, that even clouded by an often warped-sense of thinking, it’s still kind and loving.
Christians are supposed to be the kindest people there are – we’re supposed to be the ones that see others and immediately reach out in love and mercy, knowing that we are no better than anyone else. And yet, Christians are no longer known for that – we’re the givers, now, of ungrace and judgment in a world that operates by those rules. Even in small instances like birthday parties, where it takes only a bit of effort to engage others and make them feel loved, many of us stay to ourselves and remain exclusive and comfortable.
The Christian life cannot be lived inside a bubble, within an AT field (Eva reference!) set up by our own rules and conditions that keep us feeling safe and secure, for the Christian life is about humility, surrender, and faith – things that strip away our own rules and leave us feeling like a skydiver, leaping into the unknown and finding security in the only thing that can save us, a parachute that not only offers safety and security, but allows us to experience life in a new way by making the jump possible in the first place.
A lived lived by your own rules, in the comfort of your own bubble, is a life lived apart from God. If you can’t be like Hikigaya, willing to abandon his beliefs out of love, then you’re living to love yourself first, not God and others (Matthew 22:36-40). If you understand and accept the message of grace, you have only one option:
Go burst that bubble.