Sunday, June 28, 2009

REALationship-the Benefit

I began this thread by pointing out that we are here for each other, that we are designed for REALationships, and that's why they are vital to us if we are to be emotionally, physically, and mentally healthy.

REALationships give us purpose. We find as we develop true relationship that all seems right with the world. Things don't bother us as much, and we find ourselves with great peace and joy even though our lives may be in total chaos. This is true life; this is true living, not merely existing.

What greater purpose in life could we have than bringing joy and happiness into the lives of those who commit to and trust us, and whom we commit to and trust? When we become givers, instead of takers, and discover ourselves wanting to give of ourselves more, we become the people we always hoped we would be. We become the people others hoped we would be.

Decide today that you will become a friend to someone that needs you to commit to them and trust them.

Their life will be changed.

Your life will be changed.

Dave and Jon had a REALationship. It was said of them that they committed to and trusted each other so much that it was as if there hearts were one. You would think that they would be the last ones to have a REALationship, because of their situation.

You see, Jon's father Sol was grooming Jon to take over the family business. However, the Dad, who was the owner and still had controlling interest in the business, had passed over Jon and picked Dave to run the company after Sol retired. Dave was simply better qualified. Even Jon recognized this. Sol didn't think so and this greatly upset him; he didn't like this up and coming executive Dave, and had in fact tried to eliminate him a couple of times already. Because the announcement had already been made as to Dave's future with the company, made clear by the HR director Sam, Sol did his very best to destroy Dave. Little did Sol know how close Dave and Jon had become.

Dave was so afraid of Sol that he went out of town during the time of a very important board meeting. He asked Jon to see if Sol had honored his promise to not try to get rid of him. So Jon went to the board meeting, explaining that Dave was absent due to some family business that he had to attend to. This was the test; if Sol was OK with this then Jon knew that Sol had kept his word to not try and destroy Dave. However, upon hearing the news Sol exploded. He accused Jon of siding with Dave over him, and even pointed out that this didn't make sense because Jon knew Dave would run the company after Sol retired.

Jon went out and met with Dave to give him the news. This greatly upset both of them, because they knew Dave would have to take a leave of absence until Sol had either calmed down or retired. Jon asked Dave to be kind to him and his family once Dave took over the company. Dave promised he would. Jon and Dave then parted company, each weeping over the knowledge that they may never see each other again.

They in fact never did see each other again. Sol and Jon were on a business trip together when they were killed. Dave mourned greatly over both of them.

After taking over the company, Dave looked for someone in Jon's family to show kindness to for the sake of Jon. He found Jon's handicapped son was around, so Dave adopted him, taking him into his own house.

See, Dave and Jon understood REALationship. They were givers, not takers. Sol, on the other hand, was a taker to the extreme.

Which of the characters in this story are you? Are you a Dave and Jon, or a Sol?

Which do you want to be?

The choice is yours, and yours alone.

Make the right choice so you can make a difference in someone's life today!

Friday, June 26, 2009

REALationships-Vital to Life

In these posts so far, we have defined what REALationships are and how to have one. They are an essential part of human existence, because we are designed to have them. We have seen that genuine REALationships are defined by interaction between people, and not merely interest or self satisfaction. They are based on commitment and trust, not love, though love is certainly a vital aspect of one and arises from the commitment made and the trust shared.

Life is made for relationship. Life without relationships has to be the greatest misery imaginable.

Think of those people who you know of that are grouches. You know, the ones no one wants to be around because they are miserable and desire greatly to "share" their misery with others. Are they the committing type, the trusting type? Generally, no. They WANT commitment. They WANT trust. They just don't want to GIVE it.

They prove what we saw earlier, that REALationships come from those who give more than they get. There is great satisfaction and joy in giving all you can. There is great dissatisfaction and misery in taking all you can.

If you are a giver, then I'd be willing to wager that the relationships you have are real, and you find joy and satisfaction in them.

If you are a taker, then I'd be willing to wager that you don't have any real relationships, any real friends in the world, and you are of all people the most miserable.

To have REALationships, and to give of your all to them, is life. It is truly living.

To have PSEUDOlationships, and take all you can, is merely existing.

Are you living, or existing? The choice ultimately is yours.

Which will you be, a giver or taker? Which do you want to be remembered as when you're gone?

I don't know about you, but I'm not interested in merely existing. I want to LIVE. I want to have life, and have it abundantly.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

REALationship Made Real

In my last post I used a term-REALationship-that defines the difference between a relationship and an association. Knowing of someone is not a REALationship, knowing them is.

So how do you get to know someone?

It takes an investment of yourself. You are required to spend of yourself, and sometimes spend yourself, in order to make the commitment necessary to build the trust needed to have a REALationship. That defines a REALationship-commitment and trust.

Commitment is not a difficult thing to understand. It is often difficult to live. Commitment requires strength of will and mind. Commitment requires mercy and grace. Commitment is making the decision that regardless of the situation or the outcome, you will hang in there, you will be available. Commitment means enduring all that can and does come.

Trust is probably the most fragile aspect of a REALationship. Trust is often the last component of a REALationship added, and the first to fail. However, REALationships cannot exist without it. Trust requires that we put faith in someone. It is somewhat blind faith, at least in the beginning. Trust has to be earned, certainly; but it also has to be granted in order for it to grow. Like a muscle in the body, trust has to be regularly exercised and stretched or it atrophies, growing weaker and weaker until it fails.

Trust can fail and be rebuilt time and time again-as long as the commitment is maintained. Trust is the aspect of a REALationship that usually causes pain when it fails or is weakened. Commitment is the aspect of a REALationship that is its strength, that bears the load and works to heal the pain, which allows restoration of the REALationship and trust to be established again.

Commitment is the brick, and trust the mortar, that makes up any REALationship building. Just as with a masonry building, trust can crumble and be removed, repaired, and replaced while the rest of the building still stands, as long as those bricks of commitment are good and strong.

You'll notice I have not mentioned love at all. Love is certainly critical in a REALationship but not necessarily vital. To love before commitment and trust is there, is to not really love at all. It is infatuation; desire; attraction. This is why many PSEUDOlationships fail; they are built on something fleeting, something highly conditional. Commitment to a REALationship normally results in love. Love infrequently results in commitment. Love is indeed the icing on the cake in a REALationship, but commitment is everything neccesary in the process to get the cake to a place where it can be iced. Everyone wants the icing. Those who truly enjoy cake, want it all.

REALationships are truly life changing. When you have someone in your life that you are committing to; when that commitment grows into trust, enabling you to care more for their well being than your own; when you are at a point where they begin to consume your thoughts before you think of yourself; then you are at the doorstep of a REALationship.

Monday, June 22, 2009

What is a REALationship?

With relationships being as vital as they are in the human life, you would think we all would understand and know just what a real relationship is. Sadly, at least in my experience, this is far from true. How can it be so?

One reason is because we mistake other things for real relationship.

We often think that infatuation, or interest, or commonality, or position, defines real relationship. We think that as long as there is something environmental keeping us together then this is a real relationship. On the surface it's easy to see how many could assume such. After all, haven't we heard for most of our life that the first thing to do to begin a conversation is to establish something on which to base a conversation? So these relationships end up feeling hollow and fleeting.

Then there are those who see real relationship as one of usefulness. These relationships are maintained by one or both parties pleasing and serving the other for selfish reasons. In many, if not most, of these types of relationships, one party serves the other much more than they are served. Because of the need for relationship, some people will be practically enslaved by another just to seek fulfillment. Fulfillment, however, never comes. There is always a sense that something is wrong but you just can't seem to put your finger on the problem.

These "relationships" are anything but fulfilling.

So how do we recognize real relationship? Well, the dictionary defines it using words like connection; relation; interaction; reciprocation. These terms indicate that there is indeed commonality and service within real relationships, but these are only aspects of relationships, not the definition of relationships. Real relationships go deeper; much deeper.

Real relationships differ from what many believe they are in this way: real relationship is about selflessly serving OTHERS, not selfishly being served. Real relationship would be one in which I would serve you to meet your needs and wants, and in which I do this selflessly. You would also serve me in the same selfless way. Real relationship seeks the good of the one being related to. So real relationship is one in which giving is central, not getting.

In the real relationships that I enjoy, we try to outgive each other. There is GREAT JOY in this. These are the relationships that I cherish most. These are the people that I love the most.

These for me are realationships, not pseudolationships.

I dare you to try a realationship. It will change your life. It will change the lives of others.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!!! From my Dad's heart to yours

As this is Father's Day, I thought I'd pass on some lessons my Dad taught me. They have served me quite well in life, and I trust they will serve you well also.

  1. Relationships are reality; everything else is perception.
  2. Never miss an opportunity to hug someone and tell them that they are loved.
  3. Commitment is the brick, and faithfulness the mortar, that makes up the building of every relationship.
  4. Don't take yourself too seriously. No one else does.
  5. One good practical joke deserves another.
  6. Sometimes, the only thing on TV worth watching is Looney Tunes.
  7. If Christ is not at the center of your life, then you are very hollow indeed.
  8. Discipline need not be violent, but it does need to be swift, firm, and sure.
  9. It's OK to have favorites, just don't play them too often.
  10. You don't need a lot of stuff to be extremely rich.
  11. It isn't true that true love never dies, for true Love died for you. And me.
  12. Patience is a hard lesson to learn, and a harder one to teach.
  13. When storms come, sit on the porch and watch them. There is wondrous beauty to be seen within a storm.
  14. Family is not defined by blood; it exists within your heart.
Thanks Dad.

I love you, and miss you.

Until we meet again in glory...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

What is it that REALLY matters?

Many over the years have mused as to exactly what our purpose in life is. Some have suggested that we are here with no purpose whatsoever. Others say we simply exist to enjoy life while we're here. Still others think that we are a blight on the earth, here only to use up and exhaust all of earth's resources.

I think we're here for each other.

I was just talking to the receptionist at my hair choppers. She lost her dad last year due to cancer. He was not very old; probably about my age, if not a bit older. Jennifer was blessed by the fact that as her dad came to the end of his life, he realized what many never do until they are in the same place. He did not wish he had spent more time at the office. In fact, he regretted the way he had been ever focused on and all consumed by his job. He was not bothered by having missed more opportunities to play and recreate. He wished-GREATLY- that he had invested his time in his family.

Jennifer went on to say that what was such a blessing for her in this unpleasantness was to learn this lesson at such a young age. Her life, though never again normal, is forever changed. Changed to the point that she now has a passion to work in a field where she can help others recognize the important while minimizing their focus on the unimportant.

Relationships. THAT is what really matters.

Spending time with and investing in those who love you, and those whom you love, is the greatest way imaginable to go through life. We desire and crave relationships because it is how we are designed. I can think of no misery greater than a life without love, and true love can only exist within relationships.

A life without love is no life at all; it is merely an existence.

Do not let this day end without letting those who love you, and those whom you love, know without any doubt that they are loved. Relationships are the spice of life, not variety. True relationships are what we all crave and value most in life. When all else fails; when everything and everyone abandons us; when life is falling apart all around us; it is those we are in true relationship with that are our strength, our song.

Sing the song of love to someone today. You'll never live to regret it. When the end of your life comes, you will have known that sweet joy of relationship, and it will be that very thing that you will be forever remembered for.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Where to start?

This is a blog dedicated to the spiritual, Biblical, and life lessons that have been learned over my near-50 years of life on this earth. I trust any and all who visit here will find encouragement, hope, and comfort in these musings of my heart and mind.

And humor.

Life is not worth living if there is no laughter. The quotation "Live. Laugh. Love." is one I try to live by, and live, on a daily basis. I see myself as someone with a desire to leave people feeling better than they did when I arrived. Laughter is one way to accomplish this, and accomplish it quite easily.

As this blog develops, there's no telling where it will go or on what discussions it will focus. My prayer is that you, the reader, will find yourself here often because you discover value in what is posted. Value in what I post, certainly, but more than that value in discussions that will arise from the posts of who this blog is for:

YOU, the visitor and reader