Deepening Change, Chapter Seven, Relationships and Change
by Melissa Martin 11/28/2011 / Christian Living
Relationships. We are all connected via relationships. Life is a continuous story of relationship building with others; unbroken and broken. It's not about power, prestige, and privilege. It's about self-awareness and other-awareness. People are the most valuable resource. Experiencing self and experiencing others is our universal calling.
Understanding changing relationships is salient. I change. You change. Our people relationships change. However, God does not change.
As a human being, I make meaning from the relationships I develop with others. As a mother, I make meaning through family ties with my daughter. In my multiple roles of wife, daughter, sibling, and friend, I make meaning through kinship. As a student I make meaning through affiliations with professors and other students. As a person with a soul, I make meaning through my connection with a spiritual entity. As a counselor I make meaning through temporary relationships with clients. How do I travel this road to meaning-making? After years of personal exploration, I've discovered that meaning-making is accomplished through relationships.
As time passes I am more willing to shoot truth serum into my veins in order to ask the hard questions. What would the people closest to me, say about me? Am I nurturing relationships? Am I sharing my inside with the outside? Am I "being" more than "doing?" Am I working on my character flaws? Do I spend time with the things I say I value? Am I reevaluating my high expectations of others and accepting their personhood and flaws? When I take inventory at the end of each day, do I strive to improve the next day? Do I live in the here-and-now with relationships?
Do I strive to make improvements and changes in my relationships with God, myself, and others? People change and relationships change. Sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. How do I manage my emotions in changing relationships? How do I manage change in my relationships? Do I run and hide or face it? Relationships begin and relationships end? Why? Why not? Some relationships are meant to be permanet and some are meant to be temporary. We need the wisdom to know the difference.
I am over 45 years of age and halfway to 90. I've lived through the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and into the twenty-first century. It may seem cliché but I'm spending more time reflecting and making meaning of my former 16,425 days. And like myriads of human beings before me I'm pondering the question; where did the minutes, hours, days, weeks, and years go in my time spent with others in relationship? I'm revisiting purpose and evaluating my relationship journey. After my daughter left for college, I spent less time at malls and more time with my relationship with nature and the Creator of nature. Relationship meaning-making is comprised of ordinary moments, celebrations, and milestones. It is found in births and funerals. It is found in childhood and adulthood. It is found in joy and pain. It is found in graduation and retirement. It is found before life and beyond death. I've discovered that meaning-making in relationships does not have a destination. It is a continuous journey with joy and tragedy mixed together. It is a spiritual quest as well as a quest for knowledge and wisdom about self and about others. It is a personal quest for learning lessons and many times I've had to learn the same lessons over and again. Ultimately, I make meaning through relationships with God, myself, and others. Deepening change is found through relationship building. Are you building relationships or bank accounts? Are your relationships changing and growing? Are you changing and growing?
Renew your wedding or partnership vows with a ceremony and cake.
Sew a memory quilt for your daughter or daughter-in-law from her old clothes.
Make a shadow box for your adult children and use their baby clothes and childhood keepsakes.
Surprise your children with a puppy or kitten.
Chat weekly with your best friends via email.
Add new friends into your circle.
Invite neighbors to a weekly card or board game.
Invite your teenager's friends' parents/guardians to a monthly outing.
Volunteer to read monthly to residents at a local nursing home.
Learn more communication and conflict resolution skills.
Write in a daily journal about your relationships.
Ponder on how a drop of water changes the surrounding water when added. How do people influence each other in relationships?
The ruin of a nation begins in the home of its' people. An Ashanta Proverb
Melissa writes about the God and human connection and condition.