“The process of knowing and loving another person happens for me through conversation.” ~Glennon Doyle Melton in Love Warrior
Yes. That. Knowing + Loving = Relationship.
I have my people – they have taken time, have asked questions, have listened, have challenged, have argued and disagreed, but loved unconditionally and passed no judgment.
Talking at me, never asking my opinion, not investing time, and assuming things about or judging me?…yeah, that’s going no where. It just won’t. Ever.
Relationships are intentional. We must choose them. When two parties are in agreement about wanting relationship, the relationship itself is not just magically in tact. Hard work with a good amount of truth-telling and vulnerability must be present from both parties.
Relationships are necessary. For us to be our best selves, I believe we must be in real relationship with a few key people. Who these people are and the roles they play may vary from person to person, but true, deliberate relationship needs to be present in our lives. We can not be who we are meant to be without relationship.
Trusting another person with your thoughts and desires and messiness, as well as being trustworthy with theirs, is a risk. A totally terrifying risk.
But it’s worth it.
In true relationship we find a soft place to land after being hurt, we find a firm punch to the shoulder when we need to snap out of our self-centeredness, we find peace and challenge and quiet.
A couple of days ago I wrote that my dad always chose me. He chose relationship with me. I chose it with him. There were a few years during my teens that we rarely spoke or saw one another aside from my birthday or holidays. But when I found myself living on my own, I desired more of the relationship that I had been given as a child. Of time together eating donuts and talking cars. He always listened intently to whatever I was saying, he traveled hours and sometimes days to visit me, multiple times a year. As I had kids, the frequency of visits increased, but interestingly, I still felt like I was his priority.
Our relationships are our responsibility. We usually get from them what we put into them.
I have relationships that have come and gone in my life. Good, real, honest, strong relationships, that after a time, fizzle out for one reason or another and have disappeared. To be honest, I generally don’t yearn to have them back. I just acknowledge the good that was in them when they existed and let the rest fall away.
When talking about close friendships, Melton writes, “To know someone I need to hear [them], and to feel known, I need to be heard […] we go deeper into each other’s hearts, minds, pasts and dreams. Eventually, a friendship is built – a solid, sheltering structure that exists in the space between us – a space outside of ourselves that we can climb deep into.”