Relationships can be messy. Sometimes, things get messier and feelings get hurt long before the mess ever gets to begin to be cleaned up. Sometimes, the mess never gets cleaned up. Relational messes can be created by 1, but usually require at least 3 to clean up. The one(s) who created the mess, the other party(ies) involved, and Jesus.
This week, I was hanging with my nieces and nephews and 6 yr old Garrett decided he wanted some juice and that he could pour it himself. I asked him not to and to wait for me. Next thing I know, juice is all over the table and floor and he is crying, “Auntie, I’m sorry!” While frustrating to clean up I knew it was unintentional and I couldn’t really be mad at him. We cleaned the mess up together and he still got his juice.
This week, like Garrett and his juice spill, I unintentionally created a relational mess. I am not quite sure what happened or how I managed to do this but I am clear that I cannot clean it up by myself. Unfortunately, at this point it seems as though the other party involved does not wish to or is not ready to talk with me so we can clean it all up. As a highly relational person, this is heartbreaking to be at odds with someone in a relationship. I am working overtime to NOT text, call, FB or otherwise harass this person into having a conversation with me, and instead trying to simply trust that when this person is ready, he will let me know and we can move forward.
This is a whole new level of trusting to learn…let me tell you.
Unfortunately, as time goes on and I am unable to have the conversation I would like to have, I also have to work hard to NOT grow angry in the silence I am hearing and to NOT make up stuff about what that silence may or may not mean. This is incredibly difficult to do as I rehash the facts as I know them and wonder again how we got to this place.
In all of this, my 11 yr old nephew taught me a great lesson this week.
Gavin, is learning wisdom in his old age and is learning how much value there is in biting one’s tongue.
While at his house this week, I witnessed an argument between his parents. Nothing major, just spouses being tired at the end of a long day. Gavin, is highly relational and is a great defender when he feels someone is being treated unfairly. When arguments happen, he will pick a side and step in with his words to defend.
Well, that is not always the wisest thing to do when it is your parents.
I watched this argument unfold, I watched Gavin, stand up next to his mom (apparently he was choosing her side in this one) and start to defend her, when suddenly he paused. In that pause you could almost see words start to come out of his throat and begin to spill out of his mouth. The pause, gave him time to think, and I saw those same words that might have landed him in trouble get swallowed up and what came out was this,
“Mom…Dad….I LOVE YOU!”
Both parents paused and looked at each other and began laughing. A simple declaration of love diffused the situation and created space for his parents, who were simply mis-communicating their needs and wants, to pause and start again with grace for each other.
While my relational mess was one that is and was unintentional, the prolonged silence fuels anger, anger that I KNOW will not be productive in restoration.
So I am taking Gavin’s queue shoveling the unproductive words back in and instead I am saying…
“Mr. X, you know who you are…I LOVE YOU!”
I am really hoping this isn’t one of those messes that becomes unable to be cleaned up.