If You Want Me to Stay

Relationships are as many-sided as the ones involved in the bonds.  A fellow once said, “Marriage can be like a tick on a dog, but some marriages are two ticks and no dog.”  Now, marriage is not the only (if hopefully the strongest) bond, and there are other relationships worth maintaining.  Perhaps, if we had more maintenance workers and fewer relationship executives, there would be better relational outcomes.  If all the principles at all the schools in our county were absent from work, the system would function as planned, but, if the support staff walked out, we’d have to dismiss the students.  Relationships are upheld by the support staff as surely as roots uphold the tree and the foundation gives strength to the superstructure of any building.

Why don’t you stay?  There may be many answers to the question which may be inappropriate in application if not intent.  Whether Jack slips out the back or Stan makes a new plan, the reason or reasons are as individual as the individual.  Some relationships seem to come to abrupt ends while others die slow, painful deaths.  The truth is that any demise is long in the making.  We marvel that the stricken pass quickly when their decline was not swift at all.  It came without observation.  So it is that passioned pursuits fail of their promise by the subtle drift of inattention.  Small slippages here and there will cause gleaming goals to fall of their own bulk.  Even if we were complicit in the demolition, we wonder how it happened.

I have said relationships require support from all the individuals involved.  Cohesive coalition is impossible without buy-in.  This concept applies to the boardroom, the ball team and the bedroom.  Some people will say they want to be involved in a mutual pursuit but contribute little to the cooperative effort other than their words.  This lack of commitment tears at the root of the enterprise, and the formulation is polluted at best and toxic at worst.  Failure is one thing, but nothing is as devastating as betrayal by companions.  Many things cannot be accomplished singularly (regardless of talent) in this life, and two cannot walk together unless they are agreed.  This principle finds expression in every area of life.

Scripture tells us that God has laid a burden on the human race.  Actually, there are many burdens or responsibilities shared by everyone regardless of their seeming status or position in life.  Now, the Bible also tells us that we are to help each other with burdens and, at the same time, each one of us will bear his own responsibility.  So it is a duality.  We all own certain concerns, and there are some things we can share with others and some we cannot.  Since all our actions touch one another, our doings are intermingled so that none of us lives or dies to himself.  This truth waxes or wanes according to the proximity between individuals.  The closer we are the more vital or volatile is our connection.

If we want to maintain meaningful familial friendship, it will take work on the several parts of the whole.  There must be a glue (so to speak) that cements the bond initially, but time will erode the adhesive if the connection is not revisited and renewed.  Healthy relationships will not hold without holistic effort.  A rewarding relationship with the God Who is consistent in character is not possible unless we are proactive, and it is a certitude that our connections with others will decay through absence or apathy.  Both knots need not loosen for a boat to drift from its moorings, and we will lose our guiding lights through the relentless drift of life if we do not take care.  In the end, however, we cannot force people to go or to stay.


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