Maintaining relationships can be uncomfortable


Remember how Daniel enjoyed occasionally writing columns for me and how he couldn’t stay away from the subject of relationships? I wonder if God put it there, knowing that at the prime age of 33, he’d be called to leave Earth’s ranks.

There’s one actual incident in Daniel’s life that got me thinking. Daniel spoke to a brother in church a few months before the unplanned event of being pinched between a tree and a backhoe, causing internal bleeding and death that very day. Daniel had known this man for years; now, in conversation, he realized that not all was clear between them, so he asked his friend, “When can we talk?”

A date and time were set.

To him, there was no reason to put off discussing anything that hinders relationships.

Later, Daniel shared with me their conversation and he was eager to talk with this brother again in the near future. This brother shared with Daniel what had been on his heart, including aspects of how Daniel unintentionally came across negatively. Daniel was so thankful to know about it and have the opportunity to make restitution.

Then Daniel was called home. Yes, death, as we know it, brings finality beyond mere human words. A cluster of us were mourning over Daniel’s body, including this brother with tears streaming down his face. In simple sincerity, he stated, “he was a friend.”

I sobbed with sadness, mingled with joy too rich for words.

Now I wonder, “Is there anything I can clear with anyone? Should I, too, be called home tonight?”

I know it’s so much easier not to face those awkward situations, but there’s nothing like the pure joy of being clear before God and others!

Aren’t children the best example of this? This morning I blinked in wonder over little Joshua. At two years old, he prefers not to have others meddling too much with his toys. This adorable curly top was actively protecting his toys and things were escalating by the second. When I intervened and helped him to brokenness, his expression was priceless. The scowl on his face was replaced with a tender smile as he wrapped his arms around his older brother and told him he was sorry. I notice that every time I allow little negative attitudes in the children to come out without me addressing them, in no time, it has multiplied to an overwhelming degree.

I contemplated it all. It would’ve been so much easier for me not to spend the time needed to get him there, but what a reward! Now, do I spend time with my Father in heaven? Enough time to get me to where I can rest deeply enough in his love, enabling me to have the courage to go to the one with whom I feel missing beats in the flow of the relationship and ask, “Is there anything I have done to hurt you, or things I could do differently?”

Okay, now there is no recipe for strong-flowing relationships, but food can make a difference! I’m still planning to take a pie to someone Daniel had run into a year ago, who had unreasonably ranted over him. Daniel had decided to take him a pie to show love, and now that he’s not here to do it anymore, we want to follow through with that.

Daniel could not always restore perfection to every relationship, but with God’s love, he did what he could. Some people are simply less than reasonable, yet if we pause only for a moment and reflect on the possibility of what may be causing their thoughtless or grinding ways of relating, this small act of acknowledging their personal pain has a way of simplifying things a lot.

Be encouraged; some things take time and patience beyond reason.

If you have an urge to reach out to a hurting heart, warm them with this creamy Swiss chicken bake!

Creamy Swiss Chicken Bake

4 -6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic

Put chicken in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Put cheese on top of chicken. Mix remaining ingredients and spread over all. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427

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