How do I manage messy relationships?
Such is a question I'm often asked as a pastor and especially when I'm in conversations with young adults.
Do I manage messy relationships well? I know the folks closest to me would say I do have a lot to learn.
Recently I read the book, Love, Henri a collection of letters written by the great modern spiritual teacher, Henri Nouwen. He died in 1996, but on the 20th anniversary of this death this book was published to give readers even deeper insights into his spiritual wisdom.
Love, Henri is a volume of his letters written over his lifetime to friends, colleagues and strangers alike.
Henri's answer was simple: yes. It is possible because that is how God has loved us.
He then goes as far to offer a list of the implications of unconditional love in our daily lives.
Henri shares how it is that we balance self and others in the messiest situations.
What I love about this list is that it speaks to the yin and yang of relationships.
No, we never lose ourselves completely in any friendship-- being in a place where our words, feelings or needs don't matter.
We give others permission to make mistakes, to be wrong, and hurt us from time to time, but to react in such a way that we push people out completely.
There's grace for their becoming as much as there is for ours.
Which point on this list speaks most to you?