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Published:May 11th, 2010 14:10 EST

Relationships (Part six)

By Ignatius Fernandez

 "Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans."   Allen Saunders

Starting with the next article, we shall look at specific relationships with God, Self and others.
For now, we shall look back at the five we have completed, in this series, in which we tried to examine the basic qualities that help us forge and enrich our relationships.

 1) Giving and not taking.
 2) Looking for goodness in others.
 3) Respecting others genuinely for what they are and not for what they can do for us.
 4) Rooting out Pride, which is the root of conflict, and replacing it with Humility, which is the
     Healer of bruises caused by Pride.
 5) Finding pleasure in the pain of forgiving and begging forgiveness.
 6) Realizing that doing good for others is, in effect, doing ourselves a good turn.
 7) Making ourselves attractive so that others interact with us, gloves off.
 8) Understanding that relationships depend on communications. Therefore, communicating with the
      right attitudes, than with the right words, becomes vital.
 9) Accepting that the Golden Rule, that Jesus taught, as the secret of successful relationships. When
     we value others as we value ourselves, Harmony walks in, as Discord walks out of our lives.
10) Acknowledging our power to change.

Having summarized the basics, it is time to pause and hold up a mirror to our life-situations and
relationships. Are we happy with the images that look back at us? Can we change some of the images which are not pleasing to behold?

The Great Saint Augustine lived a sinful life for many years. His mother, Saint Monica, prayed for him for 18 long years. He would not change and she would not give up praying for her son (that makes mothers a very special kind). As he wallowed in sin, at times, he too prayed. But his prayer had a proviso: Lord, not now; not yet. He wanted out, but not yet. Sin which held him in a vice-like grip would not free him. The seductive power of illicit relationships weakened his resolve. The allurements of poisoned habits was difficult to resist. Against such dominating forces, he slackened and his conversion was delayed.

There is no doubt that we want to change; that we want to put life back into our relationships at home and the work place. But wanting and wishing will not do; we need to act. Most often we tend to put off acting. Like the Lotus Eaters in Tennyson`s poem, we are sedated into inaction. And like Saint Augustine we pray: not now; not yet. To rouse us out of sedation, we need an antidote. The thought that time is running out (that we don`t have forever) could energize us into action. David Gunston has the right words for the situation: The only way to live is by accepting each moment as an unrepeatable miracle. What is a miracle? It changes the old state into a new and better state. When we seize the moment, which is a miracle, and transform ourselves, which is another miracle, then we can perform miracles in the lives of others.

The process of change may seem huge and intimidating. If we break what seems big into many small tasks and direct our energies to each small task, one at a time, before long the big task will appear diminished. The size of the problem should not deter us, is Jim Stovall`s logic: We are only as big as the smallest thing it takes to divert us.

Relationships (Part Five) - Unless we find pleasure in the pain of forgiving and receiving forgiveness, our relationships will suffer.

Relationships (Part Four) - The choice rests with us on building or breaking relationships. We cannot absolve ourselves of the consequences that follow the wrong choices we make.

Relationships (Part Three) - In a relationship, communication is important. And in communication, attitude is paramount.

Relationships (Part Two) - My relationships will depend on making myself attractive to others and looking for goodness in them.


Relationships (Part One) - Relationships are about giving, because the measure you give is the measure you will get.