So…are we back to square one?
No, but it feels a little like that, as Hiki, Yukino, and Yui face another obstacles on their path toward finding themselves in growing their relationships with one another.
Episode 12 of OreGairu 2 (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO) starts out innocuous enough with everyone preparing for Valentine’s Day. Hayato is unwilling to accept chocolates from anyone, so the idea is hatched that the student council will host an event in which Yukino will teach students how to make homemade chocolates; Hayato will attend and get to taste the creations, thereby accepting chocolates from Iroha and Yumiko.
But tensions seethe beneath the surface for our trio. Even though there’s been some progress, their “genuine bond” hasn’t truly formed. Hachiman knows as much and it’s intimated that Yui and Yukino feel the same. Shizuka, in her always surprising wisdom, points it out as well. But of course, it comes erupting forward through Haruno’s sharp words, who declares that the group is not “genuine” – and that becoming genuine may not even be possible.
Indeed, the problem is that each member of the volunteer club continues to deal with the same struggles they did before Hachiman’s speech: Yui doesn’t want anyone to get hurt, and is willing to be deceitful to others and herself to preserve happiness; Hachiman is becoming open to being honest and establishing meaningful relationships, but only bit by bit; and Yukino remains trapped between the expectations of her and finding who she really is.
How can they all still not get it?
Well…maybe because it’s only been about 55 days since they decided to make the plunge toward all becoming something else. Hachiman tearfully came to the girls just before Christmas; and it’s now the eve of Valentine’s Day.
The Bible tells us that when we come to Christ, we submit to him and start the process of transformation (Romans 12:1-3). And even though we have a new heart, we are not changed immediately. In fact, change usually takes a lot of time, and it often takes a lot of pain. And transformation never ends – not while we’re alive at lease.
For me, the road has seemed really long. Throughout my teens and twenties, I always felt extremely immature. It was irritating, because I wasn’t as grown up as I should be – either by the ways of the world or where I felt I should be spiritually. Would I never mature? In the last few years, though, I’ve seen the work God has done in me, how he’s transforming me. And while the work is by no means complete – not even close – I’m joyful in seeing results that I thought might never come.
Shizuka points out that it does indeed take time to change – she regrets that she won’t be there to see it all happened, as she knows that relationships and whole transformations in how we act and think don’t happen overnight.
It’s easy to get lost when we’re in the struggle, especially if we don’t see the things we hope for, the things we were promised, and the things we think should happen. It can be demoralizing. But all change takes time and continued effort. For Hachiman, Yukino, and Yui, they’ll get where they want to be if they continue to move toward the path they believe is true and as they support and love one another.
For us, there’s another element, too, an even more important one – as we seek to love God as well, He won’t abandon or forsake us. He’s already proven as much. So in our wandering and in our pain, we only need to look toward the cross and remember that He is Father, and He is with us. We only need to trust and do, and one day we’ll look back and see the result – we’ve genuinely grown.