My response to this quote that several caring teachers, resident directors, and supervisor’s in the past have shared was “But what about Hawaii? Hawaii is a group of islands, standing alone, yet a part of a collective.”
I think the reality is that we are islands- unique individual beings. However, we cannot thrive without other islands. We can’t thrive without being in relationships. So this week I’m letting you know about some of the relationships I simply Can’t LIVE Without!
Family, despite the level of dysfunction (some are more generous in their dysfunction than others) has a way of shaping us in a way that only family can. When I think of my family, and to be honest, I think my family falls more on the generously dysfunctional side of things, I think of things like my work ethic, my natural ability to read people, my struggle to find my voice (I’m one of five), my non-negotiables when it comes to dating, my faith, and my decision to go into the field of mental health and being a HUGE promoter of mental health, I get that and a few other things from my family. Perhaps what I have gleaned from my relationships from my family that I value most is my growth. My family has forced me to grow in so many ways that I am pretty confident the absence of relationship with them, growth would either not have occurred or taken even longer to occur.
In my opinion, friends are the family you choose. I’ve been fortunate to have some really amazing friends in my life. They’ve sat with me in silence after my parents 20 year marriage ended. They laughed at me when I called to tell them a few weeks in at work I fell down the steps, kinda like I did the first day of 9th and 10th grades. They’ve planned some amazing birthday parties for me and been there during the end of what I thought was an amazing relationship. They’ve driven three hours when I quit my job and was in tears with no back up plans. I can’t LIVE without my friends.
I can only speak for the helping profession and nonprofit world, but, it is imperative to have relationships with your colleagues. And if you are fortunate, like me, they end up becoming friends. It’s important to have decent relationships with those whom you work with and are in your career field for numerous reasons. Whether it’s because you’re new and need the support of others who’ve been at the agency longer than you or because you are co-facilitating a group or project together, you want positive healthy relationships with your colleagues. These are also the people who may serve as references for you as you pursue other work, partner with you on a research study and journal article, who you check in with about ethic issues, vent to so you don’t lose your job, etc. Several of my colleagues from former jobs helped me to land my current gig. Your colleagues may not end up being your homies but the last thing you want are enemies. Cultivate healthy relationships with you colleagues.
When I was maybe 12 or 13 I already swore I was not dating, getting married, or raising babies. I was so not interested in relationships or having a family. Granted, I think my family (remember that generous dysfunction?) had a good bit to do with it. In any event, fast-forward 10 years and I am dating a really decent guy and my cousin who remember what I swore 10 years before is teasing the mess out of me. Granted I think part of her teasing was that I was dating a guy she and her husband hooked me up with. Okay, fast-forward 6 years. While I am not currently seeing any one in particular, had a few rough break ups in between, I still say that a life worth LIVE-ing is a life that has a romantic relationship at some point And…I want the great guy to date and then marry and I’m thinking have one baby and adopt one baby. A simply LIVEd life is a life that at some point has loved, and I don’t just mean your momma, pop pop, or pet frog named squishy.
Well, I don’t like to assume that every set of eyes that reads this blog believes in Jesus, but I do. And well, this is my list of relationships I can’t LIVE without and so I am sharing that I can’t LIVE without my relationship with Jesus. It is one that through the years has become more important than any other relationship because it is what allows me to be in relationship with others. It is what allows me to seek to offer love like the love I’ve received in my relationship with Christ and to receive love from others. It’s what allows me to give and receive forgiveness, grace, and joy. It’s the relationship in which I am the most vulnerable and the most real. I’m so real with Jesus that I tell Him when I don’t fell like talking to Him or He’s talking too much. I’m also so real with Him that I probably apologize the quickest and the most to Him when I’m in the wrong (for the rest of you human folk it probably take me a little longer to apologize…I’m working on it). I’d also say this relationship is my absolute favorite.
We are relational beings and if you are going to LIVE you need relationships, real, healthy, relationships.