People just need to chill out and shut up. Listen to the way we talk. We’re so tied up in what is going on “out there” that we don’t take the time to enjoy what is already here. I’m not just talking about keeping up with the Joneses, though, Lord knows those damned Joneses occupy a lot of brain space that could be used for enjoying the here and now. I’m also talking about being up in peoples’ business and worrying about what they are doing and how they are acting…and not in a good way. Sometimes it’s good to be in peoples business and do life together. It’s good when their business is your concern only insofar as much as you care for them…for them. Not care for them based on how their business impacts you.
Something I’m learning through long conversations on the hoods of cars after movies or awkward summer-camp gigs (long story), is that when you’re doing relationships right, it’s not about you. When you are part of a relationship and doing it absolutely perfectly, then it’s not. about. you. It’s about them. So shut up about how it makes you feel and start thinking about how it makes THEM feel.
So, you’re working your butt off for them. So, you’re not getting to do the things you want to do because they aren’t helping you. So, What? So that person isn’t as respectful as you want them to be. So that person doesn’t behave the way you’d have them behave. So what? What are you doing for them? How are you serving them, really? How are you loving them? Is your relationship just about bartering in-kind services, emotions, etc? Are you serving them only so that your side of the “What have you done for me” scale stays more heavily weighted than theirs and you can feel better about yourself that way? Is that even love?
You know what’s great? If you’re fully involved in a relationship, and you’re making the relationship all about the other person and committing to dying to yourself, and the are doing the same thing, then a ha! suddenly things are pretty great for everyone. But when they aren’t dying to themselves and making things about you, are you going to get all wound up in knots with a martyr complex or withdrawal your love in a passive-aggressive way to remind them that they should be focused on you? Or are you just going to continue to love them? If you’re making it all about them, truly, should it even matter what or if they reciprocate?
A lot of self-righteous readers are reading this and self-righteously listing all the times they’ve been the martyr and loved someone when they didn’t get it back in return. Well, you self-righteous idiots (points finger at self), that is not martyrdom, that is accounting. You’re building up a stockpile of “at least I’m better than thems” to fall back on when you feel like being an a-hole. The martyrs are those who continue to love no. matter. what. even when they are not loved in return and they still consider the account settled. They don’t have a stockpile of “at least I’m better thans” and truly, they don’t expect love in return. Sure, it’s nice to get it, but that is not their job. That is not our job. Our job is simply to love. It is not to love and expect love.
I’m not saying ignore problems or issues. I’m not saying we should not resolve things, but when we address things from the stance of “woe is me”, then we are failing. We should want people to love not because it is better for us, but because we truly, honestly believe it is better for them. Who can say they believe that? I do sometimes but at times, I don’t. Yet, I fight to grasp that truth and hold it’s slippery little tail in my grip. We need to stop gossipping. We need to let go of our bitterness. We need to look around us and love those we see and be glad in what we do have and thank God for the love we have received; most especially His.