January 3, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Old Friends

I'm up--finally!  I went to bed early last night and slept all the way through (whoohoo!)  After a cup of coffee and a piece of my Cinnamon Swirl cake, I am good to go.  The house is quiet, just the way I like it in the mornings, and except for my boys, everyone is either gone or asleep.  It is nice, so very nice, to have a quiet house all to your self.

Today is January 3rd.  Tomorrow will mark my DH's 53rd birthday.  I am not sure if he will receive any calls or cards for his birthday.  I am no longer in that loop, and his parents are in the midst of moving to Missouri (on the 8th).  They are not on good terms, so I doubt anything will be suggested regarding his day.  I know that it rubs him hard, to be forgotten like that, but I cannot help but wonder how much of this ill-feeling was created by him.  I don't blame him entirely, just like I don't blame his parents completely.  It always is a two-way street, and no one is completely innocent except for the Lord.  Words are said or left unsaid; emotions run high, and things happen.  The key is to not let things escalate, and that is how to remain in control and recover friendships.

I was watching Cesar Milan the other day (thank goodness we now get the Nat Geo channel in HD).  He was stressing how important it is to watch the signs and not let dogs escalate to a "red zone."  The point he was making is that as pack leader, you must nip the dog (touch him or tell him to stop) before he gets to the "I am going to bite you or attack you" stage.  Many dog owners are oblivious to this escalation, and then cannot control their dogs once they go over the top.  Milan suggests being in control, always in control, and making sure to be the pack leader.

I like his approach and have found his method analogous to personal relationships between humans.  It is really the same thing -- two humans interact and one gets pushed and begins to escalate.  The key is to control the situation and not allow that temper or emotion to get out of balance.  Of course, to Milan, balance includes daily exercise (as he quips, "rules, boundaries and limitations"), and he is thinking of walks with your dog.  But people need balance too, and for us as emotional/spiritual creatures, we have to find it in other ways.  Diet and exercise will bring a healthy balance to the body, but spiritual understanding is what calms the mind and brings peace to the soul.  This is to come from a deep fellowship relationship with God, the Creator.  Our spiritual inside was designed to be kept in control by one Pack Leader, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.  People attempt to find peace other ways, but they never achieve true peace, the peace that permeates their entire life, and sets everything in order.  The only way for transformational peace, the peace that will turn a life upright, and set it moving forward is a relationship with Jesus Christ.

As I blog about this topic today, I am reminded that in every personal situation there are two people at the helm.  One can choose to be the Pack leader (best if both are well in control of their own self) if the other is out of control.  The goal should be mutal understanding with compassion.  This requires listening, observing, and then careful articulation of words.  Yes, in humans, words do matter.  Milan tells us that dogs don't speak human.  They read "energy" or emotional states.  People are not good readers of emotional states, and they rely on verbal communication and body language.  Therefore, it is critically necessary that people understand themselves, read their own states well, and then be ready to engage in dialogue that is harmonious and edifying.  The Bible tells us that we are to build up one another; yet, so often we go about tearing one another down.  I would prefer it if we all could be builders and not destroyers, but this is just not to be.  My encouragement is to work towards always building relationships and not destroying them.  Even if the other person is not interested in forming a close relationship with you or they want some other kind of relationship (out of balance), it is important for you (and me) to remain in control.  We decide how to build the relationship, and if it can be through mutual understanding with compassion, then we will truly be blessed.

My prayer today is to be a relationship builder and not a relationship destroyer.  God desires His people to love Him and then love others.  You cannot love another person if you are bent on destroying their identitty or their self-worth.  Respect, admiration, praise, and genuine affection can be the marks of a healthy and happily balanced person.  Relationships between two like people will develop into a lasting friendship that is balanced and determined to bring God Glory.  My praise today is for God to receive all the glory through the relationships we currently enjoy, and those we intend to form in 2011.

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