Tag Archive | Quality Decisions

Greetings, friends!   Today, I’ve had something on my heart that I’d like to share about – so draw close and visit with me, for a bit.

This is a somewhat difficult subject – but an important one, I think.  I’m talking about offense – and how easily it can be given, within relationships.  I think that we’ve all been through it – at one time or another, in our lives.  It can come from family, from friends – or from complete strangers.  It can be given intentionally, unintentionally – or completely unconsciously.  It can be caused by word, by action – or by inherent attitude.  Regardless of how it comes about, though – it’s always painful!

I was thinking today about an acquaintance of mine who is in the midst of a very painful time in his life.  It had been some time since I had last heard from him, but . . . it soon became quite clear that the reason that he was not his usual ebullient, encouraging self on this occasion was because he was suffering from a boute of depression.  When I asked what it was that had brought this about, his response was that he had recently done something that had caused offense, with one of his oldest friends – and as a result, believes that the friendship may now be over.  He didn’t mean to cause offense – in fact, it is my belief that he didn’t even know that he had caused offense with his friend!   All the same, the relationship between them is in jeopardy.

We’ve all been there, friends.  Involved in a long-term relationship with someone – which has developed over time into a close, and treasured friendship.  Then one day without knowing it, we say – or do – something that our friend so deeply disagrees with, that they feel like we’ve betrayed them!  In one fell swoop, the friendship is over!!  I’m not a psychology major, friends – so I don’t have any solutions to propose.  I just know that I’ve had these experiences a few times in my life.  And every time that it happens, it is always just as painful.

What these experiences have taught me – my friends – is that relationships can be precarious.  We’re all created with feelings, and emotions.  And the capacity to love deeply.  This same capacity also makes us vulnerable.  It has been my experience that as we age, we give of ourselves – and form lasting friendships – less and less easily.  I think that as we get to be middle aged, most of us really only have a few very close friends.  And we treasure those friendships, deeply.  Every once-in-a-while, though – life throws a curve ball, and one of our closest friendships takes a turn that we never would have expected!  Sometimes, whatever offense was brought only causes a temporary rift – but other times, it causes such a large – and enduring – rift, that the friendship cannot overcome it.   On the occasions that a long-term friendship ends suddenly, we always feel a deep sense of regret which can take time to fade.  In it’s wake, we usually wind up either drawing closer to a spouse, or another close friend of ours for comfort.

I think that as a partial result of these occasional losses, we wind up meditating on our own behavior – and the quality of our relationships with any remaining close friends.  I know that for myself, I wind up feeling a compulsion to run to the comforting arms of my Lord and Savior – as I try to discern what went wrong!  In His compassion, and steadfast love – I’m usually eventually able to come to grips with the loss.  I would admonish you though, friends – that as you’re working through the process – don’t distance yourselves from others that really care about you!  I believe that this is the point that I’ve been attempting to draw to – throughout this whole monologue.  There are always at least a few other people in your life who really care about you!  If in our grief, we deny any attempt that they may make to love and support us – we could be unintentionally causing a rift, ourselves.

It says in the Bible that acceptance and compassion are virtues.  I think that it is important for us, then – as we go about forming friendships – to bear these things in mind at all times.  As you keep, and develop friendships through the years – be kind to those you care about – and accept them for who they are, even with their weaknesses and short comings.  Have compassion for those less fortunate than yourself – or with special needs.  For not doing so is to to not – truly – value, the relationship.

Well, friends – I think that I’ve made my point for this evening.  Thank you for sitting and visiting with me, for a bit.  My friendship with each of you truly warms my heart!!  And as always – if something I’ve said strikes a chord with you – please comment, so that I may be party to your thoughts as well.




Thoughts on Raising Teenagers

Got up early this morning, and spent the first half of the day at the Minnesota Church Ministries Association’s annual conference.  After late evenings almost every evening this week, I’m now very tired.  I’m really glad that I made the decision to get up and go, this morning though.  I attended three very good, well organized presentations – and have spent most of the rest of this afternoon refle…

cting on a speech that Mark Gold (Global Link Partners) made regarding staying connected with our children as they grow, and age.  As a youth pastor for some twenty plus years, Mark had valuable and timely advice to share on the subject of keeping communication open between our teenagers, and ourselves.    Mark’s most important point – and the one that he spent most of his 1-Hour presentation developing – was that communication takes time, and effort.  As I was driving home after the end of the third – and last – presentation hour, and for most of the rest of the day since then – I’ve been reflecting on that.  As a parent of young teenagers now, it is my opinion that Mark is absolutely, and unequivocally correct about that!  Between about eleven and eighteen years of age, there are more than simply physical changes that take place within them.  There are psychological changes that take place, also – and those changes result from several different factors.  Two of the primary contributing factors (and these are things that psychologists have been saying for years) are the seemingly ever-present influence of their peers, at school – and poor parenting by us, as parents.  There have been about three different times within the last year, that I can recall my husband and I having gotten so heavily involved with social – and church – activities of our own, that for almost a month we failed to create any time to just be with our children.  When my children were preschoolers, I had a few close friends who would tell me to be careful how I began to relate to them – as people.  They said that as I spent time raising my children, that they would learn (and internalize) much more from my actions, then they ever would from my words!  Now that they’re teenagers, it has become apparent to me how sage those admonishments were!    In recent efforts to begin developing a quality relationship with our teenagers as young adults, my husband and I have not been as quick to start getting involved in activities this year.  Further, we’re trying to be much more discriminating about how much we get involved with – and when we do start thinking about committing time to something, we discuss it with our children first.  In addition, on weekends we try to ensure that as well as time spent assisting with homework – and supervising chores – that we spend time just being with our children, regardless of what we do together.  It has been our experience that it is in those times – when we listen attentively to our children, and validate their feelings – that trust is built, and relationship develops.  I believe that helping our children to understand that they are important to us, and that we want to have a relationship with them – is one of the single most important decisions that we can make in our lives as parents.                This has been my reflection for today.  Blessings to you, friends!