Filling The Void
Joe Clark ~~ Nov 16, 2002

Well, it's been almost two months since my thoughts on completion and complementation. As time has passed, I have been learning to not think quite so much about the distinction. It's not that my opinion is necessarily changing; it's just that I've had that wonderful thing called busy-ness that helps to dissolve many such idealistic thoughts that occur primarily when one has too many free moments in life.

That being said, I had an interesting discussion with some of my peers a few days ago, and one presented a possible answer to the completion/complementation conundrum. I think that this answer is a good compromise, and may just be the most truthful answer.

According to this new theory, the complementation people are right. A man and a woman must be individuals before they can be a team and before the two can "become one." But, the definition of "individual" requires explanation. Individualism is hard to define (like so many other useful ideas). We can justly say that, for example, being an individual means being able to interact with society alone, not relying on someone else for, say, social skills. Now we all have varying levels of social skills (and mine are not always the greatest), and there are sometimes circumstances or physical problems where someone cannot be an individual in this sense...those are probably valid exceptions, but my focus is on the people who have no such caveats in life.

So, an individual can survive without an "appendage" type person. An individual can think on his own. An individual can balance his own checkbook. An individual can laugh at himself when appropriate....It's actually hard to define an individual, because there is so much diversity in life and in people, but I think you can follow my train of thought.

Now, also according to the new theory, being an individual doesn't mean having all voids and desires fulfilled (thus the completion people are partly right too). I can be an individual and still have a sense of striving, a sense of (are you ready for this?) incompleteness. Now this probably shouldn't be a desperate craving, but rather a rational realization that not everything has been fully realized in life. This could be compared rather well to the "God-shaped vacuum" that we all have -- the desire within us for "the beyond" as I call it, the desire to find the answer to the age-old question, "Is there nothing more?" It is generally accepted that such a void exists, and even great stalwart individualistic people have this void.

So, in similar fashion, God has created us not only with a God-shaped vacuum, but also a "spouse vacuum". The presence of this vacuum serves to validate the "complete yet incomplete" feeling we (I) tend to have from time to time, the feeling that says, "I can balance my checkbook, I can sing a song, I can write a computer program, I can praise God, I can do God's work, I can be an individual, but still....I feel like I'm missing something."

Now, it is also well to note that apparently this spouse vacuum can be filled with things besides just a spouse. I guess the spouse and God vacuums differ in this regard, in that the God vacuum can really only be filled with God. But it's obvious that some folks prefer not to be married (like Paul in the Bible). In Paul's case, he filled the spouse vacuum with God and God's work. Other people fill the spouse vacuum with their career, social work, church work, etc. One might say that these secondary fillings are not as appropriate as the first, but I have no right to judge that, and so because of desire or need or lack of opportunity, the void apparently can be filled in more than one way. This might be a bit of a double standard or something, but what else is new in life?

So, what do you think? Now we have three options -- completion, complementation, and the compromise in-the-middle view (by the way, it seems in life that in-the-middle views are often the most sensible ones). As always, tell me your thoughts...I'm always interested to hear what people think about these funny little essays I write.