Relationships are a gift, for they are the place where we grow up and become real people!
A few nights ago I was reading Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to my kids. We paused for a few moments to discuss the implications of that famous statement “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” (BTW – that’s a pretty dark book for kids. Get ready for some tough questions). Anyway, relationships truly are the best and worst of times. Your greatest joy and your deepest pain will happen in, and because of, your relationships. The highest highs and the lowest lows are firmly rooted in your relationships. Bertrand Russell said “to fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.” But the Spanish proverb “Where there is love, there is pain” paints a very different picture. It’s been my experience as a relationship therapist that both ideas are ultimately true; both describe real relationships. Joy & Pain, that’s what relationship offer.
Picture this: loving parents struggling to raise a teenage child. The battle lines are drawn; neither side willing to concede much ground. There are no easy answers. But the wisdom, fortitude, creativity, and resiliency gained during these tough days is irreplaceable, and cannot be found in any book or therapy session. This growth has to be lived!
And so that’s what relationships offer us – a chance to really grow up (among other wonderful things). And I would argue that this kind of growth only comes in relationship. But here’s the catch: the mechanism for growth in relationships is sacrifice. The Rolling Stones said it wonderfully: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes (read sacrifice) you might find, you get what you need.”
Relationships give us many great gifts, and one of the most significant gifts is personal growth.
And if you’re wondering about the Rabbit pic, check out the story.