Faith and relevance in the 21st century

Category: Work

Breaking up is hard to do ended a long-term relationship yesterday.

We parted ways amicably, but it’s still painful. Like any relationship, we had our ups and downs. At times I wanted out. But through it all, my love for my other never wavered.

My relationship gave me joy and it gave me grief. We shared the best of times and we wept in times of seeming despair. But the important thing was we shared those times. We went through them together. After all, we are all wired for relationship.

As the years went by, our relationship started to develop some codependent traits; there were times when my attachment to my other became unhealthy. I would find myself wondering how on earth I would cope if our love affair ever ended.

Eventually though I started to see my unhealthy dependency more clearly. And as I did, I began to break free from the burden of needing the relationship for my sense of identity. That neediness was placing an unfair burden on both of us. It was a burden we couldn’t sustain. I had to realise I was just as much a person with or without the relationship.

Through that time of growth, my love for my other remained. In fact I started to reflect on the fact that I no longer felt resentful at times when my other let me down. I realised the obvious: that I let my other down at least just as much as I was let down, probably more. And I learned the power and freedom of forgiveness.

As a result I started to cope a lot better with life in general. That’s what healthy relationships do; you bring out the best in each other.

Eventually though, circumstances in the relationship came to a head. We would either find another way to move forward or we would have to part ways. It turned out we would part ways.

The pain at first was intense. When the decision was made, I cried. But I was determined to end this well. I had seen similar cases where bitterness remained and both sides walked away unhappy. I didn’t want to be another one of those people. Bitterness is too much of a burden to carry. My love for my other was deep and we wanted only the best for each other. I would do everything I could to make sure my other was treated well and was not shown in a bad light. My other did the same for me.

The following months were a time of both anxiety about where our lives would take us, and excitement about new possibilities. My other treated me well; I was given the freedom to look at how to pursue life post our love affair.

As we began to reflect on our time together over the previous years, our true feelings for each other came out more. I reflected on how enriched my life had been for being in this relationship, a relationship that in so many ways was meant to be.

In the end though the parting of our ways was painful. It is always is when it actually happens. You can talk about it forever but nothing prepares you for the reality. But although it was painful, it was also special. We hugged, we kissed, and we cried as we told each other how much we loved each other.

World Vision, you gave me some of the best years of my life. You have ensured that I will not forget you. I’m glad we remain not just on good terms, but good friends. Thanks so much for everything. And, who knows, maybe we’ll get back together one day.

What losing my job taught me about grace

losing my job graceA couple of months ago I lost the job I love, at the organisation I have loved and worked at for 14 years. Needless to say, I was devastated.

Time Magazine ran an article earlier this year showing that losing your job can have worse effects on your mental health than divorce or the death of a spouse. That’s pretty big. The disruption to your inner life, not to mention your external life, can probably best be described as something of an earthquake.

My first reaction to being told was shock. A feeling of hot anxiety worked its way from my abdomen up to my face as I was confronted with the reality of my life being turned upside down.

I’d known of this happening before of course, both in the organisation I worked for and in others. We all know it happens all the time. I was determined to stay rational, and not let my emotions get the better of me.  Continue reading

America the noisy

stress-CBT_1I am spending some time in the US this Australian summer. It’s my fourth time here. My first impressions this time are that, for most people, life is a daily battle to get everything done. It’s about making the bucks, working so hard that we no longer know what we’re working towards. No one seems to stop and smell the roses.

A culture that stops reflecting is a culture that doesn’t know where it’s going. This article is not a criticism of the US, because Australia, where I come from, is just the same. And even more so, I don’t spend enough time reflecting in my own life. But in this land where freedom and the individual pursuit of happiness is the guiding light that will lead us to the Promised Land, it seems to stand out more.

It has been said that we in the West have “noisy souls.” That is, we have so much going on in our brains that we are no longer able to take notice of the little things in life. We are so wired that we don’t know how to stop and notice the birds singing. Continue reading

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