I firmly believe that God places people in our lives for a reason. Our job is to open our hearts and be responsive to God’s word through those people; conversely, to be the messenger from God to them. To love one another. After all, life is a circle; but also, in some respects, human relationships are like contiguous circles, moving and affecting each other as they affect themselves.
Obviously, the main problem with this is our ability to discern God’s will. Isn’t this always the case? We are not meant to know what God knows; but we are supposed to try to be like Jesus in the way we treat each other. I constantly try to think in terms of what God wants for me, but my own selfish desires usually get in the way.
Sorry, but I am human.
It is unfortunate for us that God doesn’t speak to us like He did to Abraham, Samuel, David and the crew in the Old Testament; appearing like a burning bush or a burst of thunder whenever an answer is needed to a pressing problem. I have often wished that I could hear God’s direction for me today in the same way He spoke to them. I know my life would be so much easier; I would question myself less. I think.
Experience and faith have shown me that the answers to many of my questions lie in the people around me. I just have to learn to listen to that small voice masked in their words and actions and the situations we encounter together.
Many of the people in my life have arrived and stuck around. Mainly, my kids. After all, they are somewhat of a captive audience. There are times when I wish they wouldn’t stick around; or, on the flipside, that I could separate from them. There have been times when that has actually happened, metaphorically. We have moved away from each other in understanding, compassion, ideals, location, goals. But we always seem to find our way back together, thanks to God, maturity, and mutual respect. These times of reunion are a true renewal of spirit, a new direction for the relationship. Satisfaction comes over me. We press on to better places.
Best of all, I continue to count them among my closest friends, with the trust and faith that is associated with that special bond. Together, we plod on, supporting and encouraging each other in the way God intended.
What plagues me most is the loss of those people who come into my life like a storm, with power and force and pleasure and promises, enough to have no question about Who sent them, but who leave just as quickly as they came. Those friends who turn away; those friends from whom I turn away. Remember, it’s all a circle.
I am thankful that I don’t have many examples of this. But those that I have nonetheless baffle me.
- What was the task, God? What lesson were You trying to impart, and to whom?
- WAS the task a tease, a game, a test? Were they meant to come and go? Is it all “to be continued’?
- Did I perform as You expected? Did we both get the message? Did we pass?
The key, I think, is to continue through it, as painful or confusing as it is, with an open heart and mind. I try to hold no malice; I try not to make it all about me. Believe me, this has been difficult to learn and is something I have only recently begun to practice somewhat effectively. I find when I can use this approach, I am better equipped to move on, having learned a lesson and satisfied in whatever impact I had on the other person’s life.
What continues to hurt the most, in every one of these situations, is the open wound that inevitably results. This wound is manifested in unspoken sentiments, misstated words and emotions, invisible or absent closure. Yes, the wound does heal, eventually. Like all deep wounds, it takes time, lots of it, and has to endure many scab-pulling reversals. Inevitably, there is always a scar left behind. The question remains: will I smile, if only a little, when I remember the events that led to the scar or will I wince?
I strive for the smile, as small as it might be, and hope that I contributed to the circle effect of the relationship, and did not disrupt the balance of contiguity among the circles. If I can end up doing those things, the scar is worth it all.
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