We are just about 24 hours away from the changing of Presidents in the USA. It is exciting and scary (for the first time ever in my life time I am afraid of what could happen on this day). I am happy for this change and the hope that comes with it. There is so much to say and so much that has already been said that I wish to step forward into a new but continuing thought. I have been thinking, and watching this thing we call relationships through all this turmoil and strife.
I think politics and the pandemic pushed me further into this thinking. We have watched over the last few years how relationships can move us forward for good or for evil. We have seen more clearly relationships where people manipulated others to gain goods, services or just to enrich themselves or to harm others.
In the same time period if you were watching we also so the “Helpers” as Mister Rogers has said. The Vets that helped to clean up Washington this last week. The thousands of people here in Minneapolis this past summer who stepped up to clean up after the riots. The weeks of gathering food, clothing, diapers and other needs for those who lost homes, grocery stores and drug store that were near by.
The amount of fund raising that happened over and over again all year -money for food, masks, PPP for front line workers. So much support was given and has continued to be given. There are so many little gifts given over the holiday season to neighbors, the poor, to small business owners – the list goes on and on.
During all this giving and helping there were new and powerful relationships forming. The meeting of people who have lived very different lives and had come together to help. In many ways people have found a new balance to relationships with those they do not know.
We may have also been watching evil actions from so many people who had/have so much already. They seem to have forgotten the everyday folks. This group of people who take and take. They are always seeking more without looking around them to see how that might be effecting others.
Here is where relationships come into the picture. Since healthy relationships are about a balance between people. Health relationships are about doing for each other, giving without expecting a return, being there when someone needs you. Relationships are about giving and hearing and just being there.
They are also about communication. The open and honest discussion that happens between thinking people. So many of the conversations we have heard over the last few years were not based in truth and open information. True relationships need the whole truth – words and ideas shared to help each person and to move everyone forward together.
I have just spent the last few days “up north” as we say here in Minnesota. Enjoying Lake Superior, a long beach front to walk on and reflecting on what makes a good relationship. Why do things work well for some and not for others? What is it we do that makes a bond between people?
We were invited to join some friends whose B and B is closed for the month January. (the pandemic is taking a hit for sure). There in a closed resort we gathered – four of us who have stayed away from people other than close family for the last 10 months. It is not a likely group of people. We developed this friendship over many years.
This relationship started with a simple weekend stay in the B and B. Friendly conversations and return visits over the years. It was owner and guest. We each had our places.
But… Each time we returned we all chatted, shared small moments of our lives and the things we enjoy. If there was a plant we could share we did since gardens were a hot topic with us. Music was a hot topic that led us all down memory lane and opened up lines of communication.
Over time this turned into longer conversations, going out for dinner – we paid, they paid and we just enjoyed time to talk. On-line conversations began and shared games like Words with Friends happened. There was a balance of time, giving and helping – if only the help was a listening ear. On both sides of this growing relationship we felt heard, we helped and respected each others space as well.
So in the course of many years we learned about out differences and our likes. We learned to enjoy the places, things and ideas we shared. We learned to understand our differences and to find that they are not are that different from us.
So I wonder on this eve of a major change – can we as a nation take the time to listen, to hear and have open truthful conversations again? Can we make (not find) the time to really heal this country? Can these little relationships we all have been nurturing over the years help us to step out into the larger world and find ways to nurture new relationship that can bring healing?
Relationships and change all take time! They take hard work and continued conversations. Change and trust does not happen over night.
I don’t know if this can happen on a National level but I sure hope so!
Here is to new beginnings, new friends and finding a balance that leads to health and happiness for all in this great nation!
Start with the neighbors, think local and watch Nationally as we step into this new space. Remember it will not be easy but it can happen.
The sun always rises even on really dark days!
And we have sun!!