Archive for the ‘relationships’ Category

Co-Dependent   Leave a comment

The trouble with people is two simultaneous facts.

One: You can’t live with them.

Two: You can’t live without them.

Ever notice this?

You are a human being so by definition you are interdependent with other humans.  You are a part of a culture and civilization on a broader level, and you are part of a family, community, non-profit, neighborhood, something.

Closer in, you rely on your family and close friends.  You are counting on them to be who they are and to do what they do that keeps your world running.  Reliance.  That’s what you do in reference to those you spend most of your time with.  If you don’t believe me, imagine your life without the people you live and work with.  Of course (you probably notice this more often) others also rely on you.

You have chosen to commit in love or friendship to those who are closest to you; at the same time that you rely on them, they do not belong to you.  They are their own.  You cannot command them and demand their love and care.

What they chose to give you is what you may have of them.

They are not required to be what you want them to be.

They do not have to do what you think they should do.

They are not yours to command, but they are yours to love.

 

 

Posted April 12, 2017 by swanatbagend in relationships

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Broken   Leave a comment

What’s one of the most distressing events that can happen to a child?

That’s right.

Something they love gets broken.

And mom and dad cannot fix it.

I have memories of something lovely getting irreparably damaged, and how distressed and grieved that made me as a child.  We had Christmas ornaments of blown glass, colored globes surrounded by extremely thin spiraled wires.  Even the bracket at the top of the ornament was a work of art, all fine silver made of tiny detailed patterns.  When one of those broke, because they were already old by the time I was old enough to love them, it was painful.

That’s an ornament, a thing of beauty, but nonetheless just some heated and blown sand.

How much more distressing it is when things of more importance are broken.  And how distressing it is to find that one continues to break things on a regular basis.

It seems to be inescapable.  I once thought that if I just tried hard enough, I would always and only be a force for good in the world.  I thought that somehow I would have the ability and the will and the power to always do the right thing.  Knowledge was power, and I knew what was right.  It was my goal in life when I graduated from high school to love and be loved and be happy.  I had no idea how truly difficult that would be.

Despite my best efforts, I damage and destroy what is good.  How is it possible to be aware of the beauty, of the import, of the good in people and the world, and still be the cause of damage?

I realize that I too am broken, and that my brokenness damages others on a regular basis.

I’m not saying that I never do anything right.  Like you, I work hard to be a good friend, a good parent, a person whose heart is attuned to God so that I can spread the love around.  I want to love others well.  Most of the time, I do a pretty decent job.

But, some of the time my brokenness rises to the top, and that is what other people get from me.

Thank God that he has made peace with me and covered me with his righteousness.  I was far away from him.  I am still farther than I want to be.  However, my distance and brokenness does not stop him from pulling me closer.  Because of Christ, he has brought me into his presence and I stand before him redeemed.  He is transforming me.

He is transforming me, and it starts right here, from the point of my acknowledgement that I am broken.

Posted February 8, 2017 by swanatbagend in reality, reflections, relationships

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I Feel for Crocodile Dundee   1 comment

Don’t let the church ever be New York City for Crocodile Dundee.  Remember the scene where, newly imported from Australia, he’s walking the sidewalk saying “G’day, mate” to every person he passes?  If anyone looks at him, it’s in the sense of wondering if he’s grown another head.  Where did he come from?

Contemporary culture seems to demand that we remain in our own little space, in our own yard, on our own block.  This is the exact opposite of what the church should be.  Even a big church.

There’s enough of that going around already.  There’s enough of us pretending we don’t see our neighbors when we are outside in the yard.  There’s enough of us staring intently at our phones in waiting rooms and restaurants.  There’s enough of us walking past people we know as if we are busily on our way to a much more important destination.

I’m sure part of this perspective is just me.  I love talking to people, and I enjoy people.  So, this morning when I was in the greeting card section at the store, I actually liked it when a friendly looking woman asked me if I knew what a pug looked like.  “Is this one?” she asked, holding up a card with a funny looking little dog on it.

“I don’t think so,” I said.

“Shoot, I’m trying to find a card for someone who loves pugs….what about this one?”

“I don’t think that’s one either,” I said, “but I don’t know what it is.  I know I’d know a pug if I saw one.”

We went back and forth laughing at the dog cards and our general lack of knowledge of dog breeds.  I loved that some woman in the greeting cards actually initiated a conversation with me.  It was fun.

So, keeping that in mind, it may be my idea of what interactions would be normal are a bit skewed.

However, I am also certain that our culture’s definition of “normal human interaction” has gotten a bit skewed lately.

So imagine Crocodile Dundee, especially in a big church.  Don’t walk past him.

Loved   Leave a comment

My grandma always made me feel like I was the most important person in the world.  She loved me affectionately and well.  She encouraged me to behave properly by giving me her big brown-eyed stare if I wasn’t behaving, and loving me the rest of the time.

I knew she would always love me.  I knew I could count on her love.

Don’t you love being loved like that?  I sometimes think as I go through life I’m always looking for love and acceptance like that.  To find a person who just thinks you’re the cat’s meow, someone who laughs at your jokes and who thinks the same things are funny or at least doesn’t look at you like you’re crazy.  When you meet a person who is warm and kind toward you, it is nourishing and comforting and healing and helpful.  I love meeting people like that.  Don’t you?

I just can’t help wishing to meet that person again.  It won’t be my grandmother, sure, but kindness lurks in many unexpected hearts and faces.

The dark side of this wish is that it turns into a quest.

At least for me it does.  I look into every open door, every new room in life for that person who’s going to be good to me.

I seem to be always be looking for a person who will love me the way I remember other people loving me.  I get caught up in expectations of friends or family or sometimes even just acquaintances, as I apparently look to re-create a relationship in the image I think it should have.  Then if the relationship doesn’t do what I want when I want, I get irritated and cynical.  If the connections I have don’t make me happy, I get depressed.  If the local church isn’t doing what I think is important, I get disgusted.

What if I just flat-out accepted that the people around me are not going to follow my personal rules about how people should be? that they aren’t going to return my emails when I think they should? that there are gems among them, but that it will take time to polish them? that the person across from me needs to be loved also?

What if I stopped deciding how the people I know, the moral people, the good people should act?

What if I laid these chains down?

I am free to love.

 

 

Posted December 5, 2016 by swanatbagend in relationships