Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Figuring Out Life with Others

I was recently listening to a podcast by a 70 year old man that I have a great deal of respect for. He mentioned during the podcast that in all of his life, he would be happy if he just had two things: Jesus and relationships.

As one who has at times, struggled greatly with relationships, there are a couple of things that I have learned over the past few years.  These are things that have come to shape how I try to approach relationships these days.

Relationships must be a value
For years I was a loner and was content. I have come to realize over the years however, that life is better with others. In order to share life with others though, I must value relationships and the ongoing pursuit of them.

Relationships take time
This one may seem obvious, but time is something that many usually aren't willing to part with. The truth is, it just takes time to get to know other people. 

Relationships take commitment
It's going to get hard at some point so there must be a willingness to work through the tough patches. 

Relationships take money
I understand that some may balk at this one, but sometimes I might need to actually invest -yes, even money - in relationships. Part of developing friendships is having a good time together and some times these things might cost a little bit. 

Relationships must be a priority
If relationships are not a priority and are not intentionally pursued, they will not happen on their own.

Relationships take the ability to shut up and listen
Most people want to be heard, but have difficulty hearing. In order for relationships to work, it has to go both ways.

Relationships only work if both parties get to be right sometimes
Nobody likes to be in a relationship with someone who already knows everything. (I used to be that guy and still can be sometimes. It's not cool). 

Many of us would say we value relationships. The problem is, our lifestyles don't necessarily their importance. Someone once told me, show me your calendar and your checkbook and I'll show you what is really important to you.

Being a loner is easy for me. Intentionality in relationships is a bit harder and more challenging. But in the end, I am hoping that a change in lifestyle early on will lead me to hopefully being 70+ years old one day and though I might not have a lot of things that others might have, I am hoping that I at least have others.

What other things might you add to the list? Or take off of the list?


Laurie Matherne said...

A friend posted this on Facebook this morning. I am working on this. I am terribly hard on myself and on others, too.

As you give during this season give the gifts people really need like forgiveness, hope, compassion... Think about it. Love is something we can all afford to give.

brian jeansonne said...

That's really cool, Laurie. While I was out thinking this morning, I realized that I could probably add a hundred more things to the list of what's involved in relationships. But based on what you have just written....may hope, forgiveness, love and compassion would sum it up well.

I needed that. Thanks.

Pi Man said...

Most excellent. Certainly I would not remove any of these that you listed, and think LM's post is most appropriate.
As I read your list, I felt that in some ways they were kind of a subheading of the one that emphasized making relationships a priority. The bottom line is that if something is important to us, we make time for it.
I, too, have gone though the cycles of trust and relationships/friendships that have gone down the toilet and leave me wondering, was it really worth it? I've slowly, very slowly, come to the opinion that yes, even the pain of failed relationships/friendships has value. It just takes time to work through it I'm afraid - at least it did/does for me. But,I'm getting better at it every day. A work in progress for sure. And I like your analogy of knowing what is important in one's life by looking at one's calendar and checkbook. It's very true. Words are (or can be) cheap. If you really want to know what's important to yourself, analyze where you spend your time and money. That's where the rubber meets the road. Thanks Brian. TA

kelly said...

I really like the part about showing your calendar and checkbook....

kelly said...

I think in order to have relationships you need to be flexible and sometimes a bit spontaneous. Some of the best memories I have with friends were not planned..they were things we did or experienced together on a whim :)

Crispin Schroeder said...

I think it is so easy to think of certain areas of life such as relationships as being "organic" and thus not requiring much structure or work. But the truth is that anything that is to grow requires cultivation, pulling weeds, light, nourishment. I would apply these to relationships as well. Though relationships are organic they require priority, time, and resources. But the fruit of well-cared for relationships is truly worth the investment. Good post.