This last weekend I finally got around to listening to the book, "The Shack". My friend Michelle has told me a few times that I really need to read it. So, I finally did.
I have to admit that I liked it much more when I found out it wasn't a true story. There were some parts that I didn't love, but there were certainly some very profound moments that I absolutely loved. I love reading things that strike a cord with me and changes me for the good. There was one concept I loved so much that I sat and wrote it word for word so I could share it with you.
"Friendship is a verb. Removing life and making it a noun drastically alters the relationship.
If you and I are friends there is an expectancy that exists in our relationship. When we see each other or are apart there is an expectancy of being together, of laughing & talking. That expectancy has no concrete definition. It is alive and dynamic. Everything that emerges from our being together is a unique gift shared by no one else.
What happens if I change that expectancy to an expectation spoken or unspoken. Suddenly law has entered into our relationship. You are now expected to perform in a way that meets my expectations. Our living friendship rapidly deteriorates into a dead thing with rules & requirements. It is no longer about you & me, but about what friends are supposed to do or the responsibilities of a good friend...or the responsibilities of a [spouse], [parent], employee or whatever."
A dear man that I love and admire used to always say, "Now think on that for a minute", something I absolutely loved! I want you to "think on that for a minute". Read it again, if you want.
As I listened to this part over and over I thought of MY relationships. Without question the relationships I have that are good and rewarding are because they exist as a verb. Full of life and love. Void of rules & responsiblities. Void of judgement. We act toward each other out of love for one another, not obligation. There is no room for bitterness or falling short of expectation.
On the other hand this concept gave me a solution to other relationships. The relationships that at times seem harder, forced and at times empty.
I have thought about how this concept can be the hardest in marriage, among siblings, parent/child, etc. How powerful could these relationships be in our lives if we let go of the supposed rules & responsibilities and just were. Because we love each other. You know what I mean?!
And then, because the book is about finding a closer relationship to God, how does such an idea apply to our relationship to Him, or His to us? I'm going to let you answer that for yourself. I'll just add that there is a part in the book when advice is given to seek for relationships, instead of rules in the scriptures. The whole book brought a greater sense of God's unconditional & consuming love being the central part of who is His. That knowledge was confirmed in my mind through my own experience of being Dawson's Mother and being a part of his mission. LOVE...it's a BIG BIG deal! The book just served as a reminder. Driving it a bit deeper.