Relationships Are Not Tidy

Since seminary, I have lived:

  • alone in a house with a dog
  • with a spouse and a dog
  • with 1, 2, 3 children (in rapid succession) and a spouse and a dog
  • in an empty nest with a spouse and a dog
  • alone in an apartment with no dog

Living alone for a Myers Briggs Introvert can be heavenly for several reasons and one of them – maybe the loveliest reason – is that I can organize things the way I want.

Look at my kitchen cabinet.  No clutter. Orderly. Color-coordinated.  Exactly how I like it.

My tools are always where I placed them last. My fridge holds no expired food. Every book is in its place. And it’s lonely.

I can hardly wait until HH joins me in Charlotte in late April but our home will not look like this.  Every one of us who resides with another human being knows that people load the dishwasher a certain way.  Some of us leave dirty dishes in the sink.  They will be random piles of paper.  It’s the price we pay for living with our loved ones.

Relationships take work beyond deciding how to load the dishwasher.  They can be messy and that’s kind of the fun part.  Figuring out how “we” will set the table or make the bed is all part of the glorious work of being in relationship.  When we love the people we live with, it’s easier to let the occasional laundry on the floor thing go. (Note: sometimes I leave my laundry on the floor.)

We negotiate and compromise when relationships are important to us. One of my hopes for the people who serve in Our Nation’s Capital is that they will come to care about our country and each other enough to negotiate and compromise.  When we focus on winning, we are engaging in Level 3 Conflict which is a terrible place to start.

Who will be the heroes and patriots willing to engage in the messy work of building relationships across the political aisle?

Who will be the disciples of Jesus willing to engage in the messy work of building relationships beyond church walls?

Who will be the people willing to engage in the messy work of building relationships beyond our comfort zones?

Our future as a nation, a Church, and a people depends on building relationships.  And here’s the cool part: we have spiritual  resources to help us out.

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