Relational Hope

Hope is usually found on the other side of honesty. -Dan Lance

Holiday. Wowzers is the best word have to describe it. Sun. Beach. Storms. Presents. Ice creams. Coffees. Take aways/take out. Family. Swimming. Friends. New Years. And a little deep communication and relational work that comes with family time.

I love summer with a burning passion. If you follow my writings you know that I could live in a swim suit on the beach for all of my days and never wish to be elsewhere. I also have a passion for people becoming the best versions of themselves. I try to forget about this sometimes or my life doesn’t lend for my job to utilize this passion but yet I still find my way there. I end up meeting for coffee with people that just aren’t satisfied with life, or on walks with those that know there’s a better version of themselves inside. It’s like a magnetic force at times that my sweet husband marvels at when I bounce out the door to yet another time with a precious human soul that trusted me. Without trying I end up walking next to someone, encouraging someone, coaching someone or creating space for someone to face and engage in hard issues.

My friend Dan Lance once said “hope is usually found on the other side of honesty.” I love the rawness from which that comment came, but I also have seen it to be true in my own life. But, and this is a big but, truth is ouchy. Truth sometimes causes people to see behind the walls we so painstakingly erected. Truth stings. Truth often times means the false life or partial false life is crumbling before our eyes and we feel as if we have no control. And that is treacherously hard because while I know that hope is on the other side of truth we must often go through a tunnel of pain and chaos to feel that hope and not just know it in our heads. And truly, who the heck wants pain or chaos, especially on holidays? Not me!

As I sat around on New Year’s Eve with my husband’s old friends (who have become my new friends) we laughed, ate chips, watched the ocean, listened to the New Year’s Eve chaos around us and talked of relationships. Relationships with spouses and kids. Relationships with families and in laws. Relationships with friends. And then we talked about what makes those relationships work and be enhanced and what doesn’t work. I am truly not an expert in this area. I have a string a failed friendships or hurting people to testify to that. What the four of us talked about that night though, was how to listen to another’s language. Not just the words spoken but the words not spoken. Those are the hardest aren’t they? We are uniquely made and uniquely different; neither is wrong or right but those differences can be very difficult to overcome and navigate. And out of that truth means that communication is just plain hard. Mix that with past hurts or different life circumstances and it’s a wonder, or dare I say miracle, that any of us get along much less feel loved. I loved our chat on New Year’s Eve. When the fireworks burst into the salty sea air in the first second of a new year I smiled. Not because I love fireworks, though I do. Not because I love salty night air at the beach, though I adore those things. Not because I love these new friends and our time together, though I do. Not even because I held my sleeping three year old while my husband had his arm around me at my favourite beach in the world, though I loved that.

I smiled because life and relationships are hard. And it was good to talk to friends going after what we are going after. None of us would say we were perfect or even good at it, but we are all trying to grow. To know ourselves and our limitations and styles of communication, to know our spouses and our kids and to know our friends and families.

It takes work. It takes courage. It takes hope and sometimes that hope comes after hurtful actions or hurtful words or hurtful circumstances beyond your control. But this I know. Walk through that chaos. Walk through that pain. Walk through that relationship that is hard because it is worth it. Hope will come. You are braver and stronger than you think. And get this, every relationship and family takes work and is sometimes even hard. Wanna know why? People. Bummer of all bummers, but people make up families and people make up relationships and people aren’t perfect. A wise mentor once told me, seek to understand and not be understood. That alone can minimise half my arguments. (Who am I kidding, 90% of my arguments)

This year as holidays come to a close and emotions might be a bit frazzled, that smile you’ve had pasted on your face for weeks is fading or you encountered family/friend stuff in you or them that is a bit raw, don’t lose heart….because often on the other side of truth is hope. You my friend are more valuable and incredible than you even realise. Here’s to an unforgettable 2014.

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