Solutions and Emulsions | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
October 2014

Solutions and Emulsions

By: Ti Chitsinde

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” - Proverbs 27:17

As I fought off the sandman last night, I considered how the analogy of solutions and emulsions so typifies human connections.

Some relationships are like solutions. You just blend completely, merging into one another to produce a better whole. It just works, all sunny skies and happy days. Of course, that harmony has an undercurrent seldom acknowledged out loud; the solvent. One party dissolves into the other, one party dissolves the other.

Oftentimes that blending is a great thing. But when the soluble and the solvent aren’t quite right for each other the solution ends up being very harmful. We have all seen examples of such unhealthy solutions, in our own lives and/or in the lives of those around us.

Emulsions are an altogether more complex proposition. Coming together but not quite blending, both parties enjoy many of the benefits of unity but remain intrinsically distinct and separate.

Emulsion connections are harder to maintain, being more strenuous to be in and having greater points of disparity. There are more things to complain about, and more irritants in the other party’s character or personality. But if you can withstand all of that, emulsions can be thoroughly enriching connections.

Emulsions constantly require you to evaluate not just the other party but yourself. All those little nuggets you glean will over time become quite a treasure trove of information useful in all facets of your life.

While your solution connections will have your back primarily because it’s something you’re doing or facing, emulsions require more cogent and tangible reasons than loyalty. Once they are on board, they bring with them the full arsenal of their being, particularly their unique traits which you do not have.

It is always a good idea to have a healthy dose of both solution and emulsion connections in one’s life. It will both provide you with the comfort and support you need, and keep you grounded.

Comparing the two types is harmful though. Accept the solution connections for what they are, and accept the emulsions for what they are too. So often we miss out on the goodness of the emulsions because we are too busy condemning them for not being a solution, or worse trying to turn them into one. All you’re going to get from that is an explosion!

We are all capable to adding value to each others’ lives just as we are. It is what we are, our similarities and especially those differences that add that value. Growing in the ability to embrace and foster both is the value which we seek, it is the love God bids us to have.

Discussion Questions: How do you show love to your friends, spouses/partners, family members who don’t see things the way you do or? What can be done to increase the love taking those differences into account?

See more devotions from Ti and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.