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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Pave me a path, will you?

It was Isaac Newton who very eloquently stated that we build too many walls and not enough bridges. Sadly, nothing becomes more apparent than when it is the season of heated political debate and rumor-mill mud-slinging. Within any relationship you may find there are times when there is a little "heated debate" and even some "mud-slinging" on occasion - although it should not be the case, we find ourselves using the "you always" and "you never" statements way too often. These only serve to build walls and do nothing to create any infrastructure upon which we may grow closer to each other. It isn't the intent to add a brick to the wall, but whenever we "mix it up" with others, we can find there are times when we say or do things which do nothing more than add bricks and mortar to an already way too big wall!

And if one person is vulnerable to attack, two can drive the attacker away. As the saying goes, “A rope made of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12 VOICE)

Jim Rohn said we don't have to go through life trying to do exceptional things - we just have to do things exceptionally well. I think this is an important thought to keep in mind as we consider the many opportunities we have within the varying relationships we have been given. He also postulated that when we build walls to keep life's sadness out, we build walls that also keep our life's joys. If we build walls, we lose perspective with what is truly real in this life. Walls keep us from seeing beyond ourselves and don't allow us to acknowledge or experience anything beyond our little world. Our viewpoint is limited and our perspective holds us tightly to those beliefs, thought patterns, and behaviors we might not otherwise consider as unhealthy for us until we see them through the eyes of another.

Sometimes I think we don't realize the walls we are erecting by our actions and words. At others, I am convinced we know we are building those walls, slathering the mortar and slinging those bricks faster than anyone could imagine - all to protect ourselves from something we see as a threat or too unpleasant to deal with. Either type of wall-building is counter-productive to a good and healthy perspective. God doesn't want our perspective in life to be of cold, impenetrable, and hard things. He wants us to see the beauty inherent in each relationship we have been given - even if they are not perfect. If we expect perfection in relationship, we will always find opportunity for disappointment. If we expect and cultivate truth, trust will be there. If we expect and cultivate openness, communication will occur - maybe a little slow at first, but it will happen.

Rohn also used to speak about a man going down a wrong road and someone being behind him thinking they needed to help him get motivated. As Rohn put it, "If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn't need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around."  We might think we turn someone toward a right course by giving them encouragement to do it. I think Rohn had the right idea - they don't need the encouragement as much as they need the road map! The walls we have built don't seem to obstruct the view until we can see there is something on the other side of those walls! The way outside of those walls is the way into them - one brick at a time. We might not have intended to build them, but when we take determined action to remove each brick we have laid by our actions and words, we might just find those bricks pave a mighty nice road to a pretty awesome destination!  Just sayin!