It is a proven fact that humans are relational beings. We start out in a family, grow up in a community, and become members of society. We learn from a very young age that we want to have friends, and we usually do some pretty drastic things to find them and keep them. We interact with other people, willingly or not, every single day. Relationships are vital to a healthy, happy life. The absence of relationships creates a significant void in our lives.
This week I became more consciously aware of dimensions to relationships that I often overlook, or at least do not reflect upon. This summer I had made it a goal to spend intentional time with the most important people in my life before everything changes: my family. I have been trying to spend quality time with them every week; I have been successful in the time aspect, but I’m afraid that there were a few times where it felt like I was going through the motions. This week I put forth the effort to truly be with them when I was with them. My heart was notably more content after doing so.
One relationship in particular has stood out to me at the conclusion of this week. That is the one I have with my mom. My mom is the only person who I have been connected to from the initial existence of my life. She has walked with me through every change and challenge I have ever experienced. I know that I have taken her for granted more than any other person I have known. I will put on my smiley face for everyone else when I am down, except for her. I will go out of my way to be helpful to others when I’m tired, except with her. I know that she has received unkindness from me in more ways than I can count, and yet she patiently seeks me out to love me more. This week I realized that this is the last summer that I will be spending at home, like normal, with my mom. These will be the last evening walks with just the two of us; the last breakfasts on our sun deck as just the two of us; the final goodnights and good mornings on a daily basis. We will always be connected to one another, but things will be different. Why did I take so long to fully grasp this? I love my mom. I don’t want to take her for granted anymore.
I also realized that a deep relationship requires very hard work to maintain. I am so thankful that I have e-mail access with my fiancé while he is away. We had not expected that. We eagerly e-mail one another as often as possible and over the past week or so we have begun to pursue even more depth in our correspondence than before. This takes a concerted effort but it has been paying off. Now when we are reunited we can simply pick up where we left off in our last e-mail. However, as I said before, this takes deliberate time and effort. He has to go out of his way to e-mail me. The computer is in a separate section of the ship from where his quarters are, and he often has to get up extremely early and or stay up extremely late in order to get time to use it. It is not always easy for me to keep writing to him when I’ve gone a few days without hearing from him. And it takes time to think of questions to ask each other that can generate a quality discussion. But the new level of depth that our relationship has reached is absolutely worth the effort.
And so it is with the most important relationship a person could ever have – the one with our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our life begins and ends with Him. He knows us better than our mom or spouse ever could. He has endured the worst for us and usually receives the worst from us in return. If we would only recognize that the relationship with Him is the only relationship that can completely satisfy and fulfill our entire being. Our identity must be in Him. In order to experience this fulfillment in Christ we must be intentional in the time we spend with Him. He pursues us and He waits for us, but He will never force us to be close to Him. Like every healthy relationship, it must be a mutual endeavor. Don’t take Him for granted. Walk with Him, talk with Him, be still with Him, experience life with Him. It is absolutely worth the effort.