The Labor of Love

      As we reflect on the dignity of work and how each of us contributes to the world around us, let us think of the “labor of love” and the work required to build good, loving relationships.

     The call of Ezekiel to be a watchman for the house of Israel [and for the community with whom we live and work] {Ez. 33:7-9} and the challenge of Matthew’s Gospel {18:15-20} teach that we are to to warn others of impending problems and to speak openly and honestly with those with whom we have problems.

    It would be easy to dismiss these challenges as being naive, simplistic, and the ideal.  On the other hand, these words of scripture remind us that when there is a quality relationship, a true friendship we can speak openly and honestly with those near and dear to us.  However, when there is no depth to a relationship, when there is casual contact, it is hard to speak openly and honestly.

    To get to the point that we can speak with a loved one, a spouse, a true friend, there has to be hard work.  Without this work, there is fear of confronting another.  We deal with our hurts by telling someone else rather than going to the person directly. 

   One of the ways to create the depth is to regularly “clear the air”, i.e. to spend time looking over the past week, the past month — to see where there were moments of joy and celebration and to see where there have been pitfalls, hurts, disappointments.

   Romans 13:8-10 tells us that “love does no evil to the neigbor”.  If we really love someone, we do not demean their name or character to others without first speaking to the other to work out our difficulties or problems.

For reflection:

> do I too quickly talk with others about a friend or family member — or a co-worker — without first talking to that person directly?

> do my closest relationships reveal a depth where I speak openly and honestly?

> am I [and my dear ones] working to build a relationship where we can speak without fear and without attack?

       My job where I earn a living is important.  My job is the way in which I make the world a better place.  At the same time, “the work of everyday life” that will fulfill my need for comfort, support, and inner energy will come from the relationships of life.  Such work requires effort, attention, and devotion.

HJM

 

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4 Responses to The Labor of Love

  1. Bette Butterick says:

    This ISN’T easy. What if the relationships are one way; their way? How can one change the dynamics if no one else wants to challenge the status quo? Is this the time to let go?

    • In relationships communication is governed by the least communicative person. Commitment is measured by the least committed person. That seems to be the hardest thing for a harder working person to accept. Relationships require two people to work and the person who is content with where things are will “set the bar” for what can happen.
      In the long run, the person who is not content can offer love, challenges, and invitations. Then, they either “accept” things as they are, develop an outside outlet to get their “emotional cookies”, or leave. We tend to grow up believing that relationships will be equal and mutual — perhaps we need to dispel that myth much earlier in life and then there will be greater peace with what is and what is possible.

      henry

  2. Bud Wagner says:

    I am happy I found you but how did you know I was having a problem like this?

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