Friday, April 12

Friendship and Community Are Plants of Slow Growth 4/12/13

     Just got home in time to make the Friday deadline.  I'm bumping this up. Let me know what you think.  I wrote this January 3rd of this year.

“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the
 mind.”  Lionel Hampton.  ImageCumbria: Great Gable by Tim
 Blessed. Copyrighted material. Used by his kind permission.
       I'm thankful for a terrific weekend.  Connecting with friends the last two days---taking in their accepting and positive nature---increases the value I place in
living diligently, with strong boundaries.  They strengthen me and prevent me from accepting unacceptable behavior, in others and myself. 

        One source of boundaries is having a list of "Must Haves" and "Can't Stands." I use it to winnow my relationships.  As a result of applying this list, I have an amazing group of wonderful, loving, supportive people.  I'm not with people who drain my joy, energy or hope.  My list of must haves and can't stands is the strand of garlic I wear around my neck that keeps me from emotional vampires. 

       What does your list of "Must Haves" and "Can't Stands" look like?   Whoa, if you don't have one.  If we aim at nothing, that's exactly what we get.  How do we know if someone violates our boundaries, if I don't know what they are?

       Here are a few "Must Haves" I adhere to in my relationships. My friendships are less frustrating, as a result of having the following: 

    1. I require mutuality and equality in the effort made.  If I call someone, and we don't connect,I need them to call back. If they don't, that's a deal breaker, if that's a habit. I require reciprocity. 
    2.  In our conversations, I look for mutuality. When I'm putting myself "out there," I want to know their thoughts and feelings, too. 
    3. I relate with those who stay in the solution. We mention the problem once. After that, I look forward to conversations as to what we can do about the troubling issue. 
          My relationships energize me, they don't enervate me. Complaining doesn't provide growth. I relate with people who look at their values, what they want, what they feel, and then take healthy steps towards the life they envision for themselves. 
       Every time I use healthy principles to tackle challenges, I am creating a better today.  I look at my options.  I see what I can do to take maintain my serenity. It's hard being strong, characterologically, if we are morose, live with a defeated spirit and surrender to demon of depression.  I avoid emotional vampires, those who just take from us. 

      Yes, it's fine, feeling negative feelings. Yes, grieving is important. But, we need to go beyond our consternation and look at the healthy steps we can take. 

      We have choices, we have options, we discover more, when we use the resource of our relationship with God and the community of safe people. Which leads me to........
    4. I relate with people who live in community, not loners. 
       For us to get the most out of life, it results from living in community with healthy others. We don't get our healing in isolation. We don't have the emotional and psychological distance that allows us to address our problems alone. We were meant to be in relationship with a community of discerning friends.

       I'm fortunate, I have one. Community takes time to grow. Mine is the result of cultivating my relationships for more than twenty years.  Good friendships require time and grace and discernment and commitment.  Good, excellent friends are grown, tended to like a plant. 

      One of my few gripes, and you know I'm a positive guy, is how cyber communities, and Facebook in particular, cheapen the word "friend."  My companions would die for me.  Would most of our Facebook fellows do that for us?

      No, they wouldn't.

      Facebook friends wouldn't and shouldn't. What are termed as such, there, usually don't have the depth of love that would motivate such sacrifice.
A man that has friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.                   Proverbs 18:24
In other words, if we want friends, we need to be one. 

        I'm grateful for those who post here.  I look forward to the community we have when we hear from one another. 


Optimistic Existentialist said...

I am guilty of being a Facebook addict (full disclosure) but I will say that I never mistake my Facebook relationships for true friend.

Pablo said...


I appreciate your honesty. I prefer spending my time, when connecting with friends, in real time, face-to-face. I also enjoy lengthy phone conversations with my companions. I avoid texting, encouraging others to call me instead. I find it more personal.

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