Did some of your associations take a bruising last year as a result of the political climate? If your answer is yes, no doubt you can relate to more of what matters – reviving relationships.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who sucked 2017’s moody air in an atmosphere largely detrimental to interconnectedness.
Consequently, I emerged from last year with another ‘sparkler’.
Besides an emotional fire extinguisher mounted within reach, I think there’s another instrument we all need that’s just as vital:
A resuscitator. For reviving relationships.
Fifteen months ago when I wrote Reflections of an Election Heart, Round Four , I wasn’t trying to be prophetic when I said, “If ‘The Donald’ and HRC actually hold enough clout to threaten ripping the fabric of families and generations, no wonder these (less than united) States of America are in big trouble.”
It wasn’t long before the family fabric was noticeably frayed. Not that it wasn’t potentially thin before. It’s just that 2017 was the year of ‘put your feelings where your mouth is’ and dissonance reigned.
Feelings were felt hard. Hearts ached. Souls got angry.
Flesh reacted by reaching new lows on assorted public chalkboards and sidewalks.
The priceless granny quilt pattern of families pieced together through the generations was seemingly reduced to dirt cheap while paying a fraying high price. Families across the nation, mine included, were rocked as the shock waves we didn’t see coming were unleashed. Sadly, in some of our closest relationships.
Widen the scope and you’ll find this dynamic at play in myriad other ‘family’ settings – at school, the workplace, faith communities, marketplace, or pockets of society where you feel a sense of belonging.
2017 felt like grade-school bullies released en masse on the playground of life. Some wanted to escape, and did. By pulling the fire extinguisher off the wall and cocooning themselves in cotton-eared foam. I did that for awhile just to gain a measure of peace. There are times a self-imposed timeout is healthy.
However, it’s meant to be just that – a timeout. In many corners, it’s gone quiet. Nursing wounds quiet.
Still, there are no winners in unresolved conflict. Where there is conflict, there is need for a resuscitator.
“I’m right, you’re wrong” ping-ponged both ways only serves to pound more nails into the conflict coffin. Communication is laid to rest as well, when pride that divides throws another shovel of dirt in the hole.
I don’t think some of us disagree as much as we think we do. Even if we do, tell me. When did civility receive last rites? When did who’s in office have the power to leave relationships bleeding, left for dead?
It only does if we allow or empower it ourselves. Every last one of us.
As the year drew to a close and the door to the New Year opened, my resolute heart turned rebel.
Unwilling to adapt to a lifestyle of ‘bury the relationship’ in lieu of ‘bury the hatchet’, I began to pray. I’ve found that Holy Spirit can and will use whatever He likes to bring an answer to prayer or a point home.
As Miracle Max in the film Princess Bride wisely pointed out to Inigo Montoya,
“There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive.”
reaching for the resuscitator
Of course there’s risk associated with attempts in reviving relationships. That’s why it requires reaching for the resuscitator. The best one I know and reach for is the one with the capital ‘R’ –
Christ the Resuscitator, when the breath is labored in a relationship much too important to be left unfinished, pronounced dead.
I find the breath-wind of his Holy Spirit revives me first through my relationship with Him. Then there is added capacity for more of what matters – reviving relationships.
Enter Miracle Max again as he said to the “mostly dead” Wes:
“Hey! Hello in there! Hey, what’s so important? What have you got here that’s worth living for?”
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
Romans 12:18 NASB
How you approach reviving relationships is personal to each individual. So far as it depends on you …
If while reading this you’ve had a mental rebuttal every other paragraph, trust me. I know. I’ve rehearsed them myself. I’ve heard them multiplied times in our therapeutic work. I can go there too. Yet I’ve had to learn that. does. not. help.
God knows it too, which is why his Word says if possible. Before we use the if to skate out of trying, though, let us not forget He also said all things are possible with God. With God, the real Resuscitator.
While the new year felt like a fresh can of Febreze offered me, I had to decide if I really wanted to rout out the lingering, suffocating odors of 2017’s emotional, political, spiritual atmosphere. I do. Starting with more of what matters – reviving relationships; or at least attempting to, with those closest first.
Holy Spirit, wisdom itself and far beyond the wise sayings of Miracle Max, has been speaking to me of ways to practice reviving relationships that matter. This I know. He’s still in the redemption business.
Christ the Resuscitator, helping us strengthen what remains1.
1 Revelation 3:1b-2