Browsing Tag:

relationships

When broken people try to build relationships

broken-people-relationships

 

I’ve been thinking recently about the cost of relationships.

 

Being in a relationship, be it romantic, friendly, forced by blood relation or other, is costly. People come into our lives and leave muddy footprints all over them.

Relationships require so much patience, compassion and forgiveness. Sometimes it feels too hard. Too costly. Too much to ask.


 

For example, I like to take good care of my things. I place a great deal of value in my possessions and so I tend to treat all of them with my utmost respect.

 

However, I am learning that other people do not take the same precautions with their own possessions nor those of anyone else for that matter.

 

I came to realize this the hard way in my first flatting experience.

 

Somehow I ended up flatting with three loud, rambunctious, messy boys.

I never thought I would flat with boys at all, let alone three at once, but God has such a great sense of humour that way.

 

So I would often find myself stumbling into wrestling matches on the living room floor, piggy-back rides in the kitchen and tea box tower construction in the pantry.

 

And as you can imagine, such chaos often left casualties. Fortunately, nay miraculously, none of us were ever harmed, but the same cannot be said for our flat, furniture and crockery.

 

Cups were chipped, once white tea towels became grey and splotchy, spatulas were singed on hot frying pans and beautiful china bowls were cracked irreparably.


 

There was this one bowl I was particularly fond of because it was on the clearance shelf at the kitchenware store.

 

It was white with this delicate turquoise pattern etched all around it. I fell in love the minute I laid eyes on this bowl and I knew I had to buy it.

 

If I had a china cabinet I would have kept it nicely tucked away in there because it was almost too beautiful to be used.

 

One day I came home and found my precious bowl with a big, ugly chip in its rim.

And not only that, but inching from the chip right through the middle of the bowl was a hairline crack which I knew spelled disaster.

 

It broke my heart.

 

I knew I shouldn’t have trusted those careless boys with my beautiful bowl. This is why we can’t have nice things. Because people are sloppy and careless and incredibly clumsy.

 

If we let them use our fine china it will get chipped, it’s only a matter of time.

 

I stormed around the flat for a little bit and muttered to myself about how careless boys are and how I should teach them a lesson about breaking other peoples precious belongings.

 

And I was getting all puffed up and ready to fight until I realized how melodramatic and absurd I was being.

 

It was a bowl for goodness sake. It was no antique, it wasn’t a heirloom, it wasn’t given to me by someone very special.

 

It probably cost less than 15 dollars. It had no sentimental or monetary value and yet I felt so outraged that someone had broken something that belonged to me.

 

It’s a joy to have nice things. It just makes sense that you would look after the things which you have spent your hard earned money on.

 

But it becomes a problem when we value our things more than people.

 

broken people building relationships, the cost of relationship, loving others, friendships, community, relationships, love,

 

So this brings me back to the cost of relationships. The fact that sharing my life, my home and my space with other people means that things won’t ever be the same.

 

They’ll leave their fingerprints all over my wineglasses. Their problems cluttering up my quiet Friday evening. Their brokenness chipping a hairline crack of disappointment and hurt throughout the smooth crockery of our relationship.

 

But I don’t want to be the kind of person who is so caught up in bubble-wrapping her china bowls that she misses out on communing with friends.

 

I don’t want to become obsessed with collecting things that I lose the chance to build a community that depends on sharing.

 

Too often I think we let our pride, our egos and our desire for perfection to get in the way of real connection. True intimacy. Deep relationship.

 

But I want to learn how to let people in.

 

broken-people-relationships

 

I want to love others. I want to drink from chipped cups and wear my best friends socks and lend someone my sweater when it gets cold.

 

I want to trade lemons from your tree for basil from my garden. I want to swap chocolate chip cookie recipes and your mom’s famous potato salad recipe.

 

I want to be the kind of person who values people, not things.

 

And that isn’t an easy thing for me to do. Because people with my personality type tend to want to keep things to them self. We so badly want to be different, unique and important and it can feel like allowing people to see all of us will spoil that.

I’m deeply afraid that someone will copy me and then I won’t be so special anymore.

 

But I’m learning that this is one of the costs of relationships. The fact that someone might copy us or abandon us or hurt us in ways we never saw coming.

 

It is so messy and risky and completely gut-wrenching at times, but it is what we were made for after all.

 

To love and be loved. To share and be seen. To lean on and lead on one another.

 

So come on over and use my best china because life is for living, not just for looking at.

The gift of our diversity

the-gift-of-our-diversity

I am ignorant. I am naïve. My mind is narrow and my knowledge is limited. I see the unfamiliar as threatening. The unknown as alarming. In my bubble of consistency and uniformity I am safe.

 

But I’m slowly learning what lies beyond the unfamiliar, uncertain and uncommon is extraordinary.

 

If we always colour within the lines, if we only stick with what we know, we risk missing out on the fullness of life.

 

When we step outside our comfort zone, when we sit and listen to those who look and sound nothing like us…we experience something beautiful. We realize that we really aren’t that different after all.

 


 

We’ve recently moved into a new neighbourhood and I decided that I would like to take this fresh start as an opportunity to get to know my neighbours properly. Previously, I’ve missed that acceptable window in which to become acquainted with my neighbours and so I lived beside them for years without ever knowing their names or their stories.

 

This time had to be different. So I started small. I baked a batch of apple and cinnamon muffins, nothing flashy or obnoxious and we went over to introduce ourselves.

 

We were greeted by a smiling Chinese woman and her daughter. I rambled an introduction nervously before realizing that she didn’t speak English and couldn’t understand a word I’d just said. Fortunately, her daughter translated for us and kindly ushered us in for a cup of tea.

 

We stepped into their lounge and sat gingerly on the edge of their couch while they boiled the kettle and pulled cups and teapots together. The TV was blaring in a language foreign to my ears. There were strange figures forming a shrine on the mantelpiece. The cup was tiny and made of glass which burnt my fingers as I picked it up.

 

I felt myself shuffling uncomfortably as one who has traveled infrequently and only to countries which speak English.

 

But as we sipped our tea, breathing in the sweet scent and sharing in this sacred ceremony our guards started slipping. Our differences became less noticeable. Our exquisite humanity knitted us together.

 

We began to share our stories, where we came from, what we love to do, what makes us unique and what makes us the same. We sat and chatted in broken English and messy Chinese and came away an hour later with two new friends and a dinner invitation for later that week.

 


 

And it was over dinner that I realized the significance of food and friendship in our lives. That something as simple as a batch of muffins can enable two families to build bridges and forge a relationship.

Because gathered around the table with the pink plastic cover, the mismatching chairs, the delicately painted bowls and thin wooden chopsticks, we were a picture of heaven. Regardless of our nationality, native tongue or chosen religion, we gathered here.

It is around a table that communion becomes real.

 

“Here we break bread and receive one another. We set aside our differences, our grievances and we are one.  This is love. This is Jesus. This is heaven touching earth.”

 

There’s a lot of talk these days about right and wrong. We search relentlessly for answers, for truth, for the moral high ground.

But all of this seems to just lead us further into segregation. We are divided by our opinions and our pride. We can’t see past our narrowminded views and we can’t step down from our high horses.

 

There are plenty of people who go through the motions, who obey the regulations, who colour within the lines.

But when we’re so busy polishing our church shoes and pointing fingers, we miss the big picture.

 

We are all the same and infinitely different. We carry separate dreams, fears and failings. But we are bound to one another in love. That’s the way it was always meant to be.

Beneath all of our arrogance, insecurities, doubts and fragility is a beating heart seeking connection.

 


 

Too often we let things stop us from reaching out, from crossing the street or baking a batch of muffins. But I’ve tasted and seen that God is good. I know now that this way is the best way.

 

“Welcoming strangers and making friends. Picking up the stragglers and inviting them in. Humbling ourselves and letting others go first.”

 

That’s what Jesus did and that’s what he’s asked us to do too.

 

And as much as I’d like to keep my head down and my blinds drawn… I simply cannot ignore this call. And now I’ve got a taste of it I really can’t stop.

 

I keep getting these heart nudges to be the one to say hello, to ask someone to join in, to give without getting anything in return.

 

And what I’ve found is as much as I give, it’s returned to me pressed down, shaken together, running over. That’s the way it is, we give the little we have and get immeasurably more in return.

 

So we can play it safe, we can colour within the lines and do only what is necessary or we can move beyond our bubbles of consistency and uniformity. We can move towards the unknown, uncommon and unfamiliar because it is there that we find one of those delightful thin places where heaven meets earth.

 

That’s the gift of our diversity.

the-gift-of-our-diversity

P.S. Welcome to the new blog! I hope you like what you’ve seen so far. In this space I’m going to be writing about living intentionally, building relationships and finding encouragement for your everyday life and I’d love to have you stick around for more. Feel free to Follow my blog with Bloglovin, connect on Facebook or follow along behind the scenes on Instagram.