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I’ve been quoted as saying that “Love never ends but relationships do.” I want to correct myself today. I was wrong….yep I said it. I was wrong. Relationships do not actually end because once a relationship exists in your life it is present in your life in some way emotionally, mentally or spiritually. Even if only for kicks and giggles during cocktail hours and pillow talk, past relationships exist.
We put the “ex” in front of the relationship to denote its new phase. Putting an “ex” in front denotes a relationship that has transitioned from a more active presence in our lives to a one that has less direct impact. The preposition “ex” means not including or without. If I introduce you to my “boyfriend” and my “ex-boyfriend” you will certainly understand my relationship with each one of them by definition. So, by nature, the relationship has transitioned…not ended. During a lifetime, your relationship with a person can go from being a stranger, to friend to your girlfriend, to your wife, to the mother of your children, to your ex-wife, your nemesis, an after-thought, and hopefully back to your friend. Though your relationship changed, you maintained some kind of emotional, mental or spiritual connection with that same person.
So, relationships, once they exist, never end. They simply transition. Sometimes we even transition with the same title. Marriages go through transitions. Parenthood certainly transitions as children grow and become adults. Friendships transition. Hopefully, our relationship with God grows and transitions, as well.
Accepting transitioning relationships can be quite scary. When the angel came to Mary (Luke 1:26-38) she was a young girl getting ready to marry a man in the bloodline of King David. These days we would say, “She came up.” I always wonder what she must have been thinking after the angel came to her. If it were me I would have been rehearsing how to go to Joseph and tell him I was pregnant. Undoubtedly, each rendition of my speech would have landed me thrown across my bed in utter mania. How would she ever survive this? Lucky for her, the angel also went to Joseph and told him that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. But then can you imagine how he must have looked? I see twisted lips and side eye back to the angel. He was planning to marry this beautiful girl. Then she tells him that she is pregnant and he decides he is going to divorce her quietly. Then the angel tells him, “no don’t do that.” So then he marries her but has to wait until Jesus is born to have sex with her. I am pretty sure none of that was in his plan. How uncomfortable! What courage it took to marry a woman who was pregnant and he had to trust and believe in what the angel of the Lord told him. Whew!! I know Joseph had to be thinking “What part of the game is this?”
Don’t we all find ourselves thinking that at some point in our relationships? No? Just me? Okay. Well I do. Whether it be as a mother, a friend, a child, a sibling or a mate there are always places in the relationship when I think…”I did not sign up for this.” But, like Joshua I had to “be strong and courageous” in the transition. Strength and courage in relationships does not always mean that the relationship stays the same. Sometimes, it means the end of one relationship stage and the beginning of another. Our challenge is to have the courage and strength to continue to love each other in those transitions.
Social media and reality TV are often centered around drama and we have become so accustomed to drama, meanness, and strife that we believe all conflict requires such. Well, I think that being hateful and nasty and having a bunch of drama in relationship transitions takes no courage at all. It takes more courage to keep your heart full of love during those times. It takes strength to disagree agreeably. The strength to walk in forgiveness of failures and hurts caused by the other person and inflicted upon the relationship by ourselves is strength that takes daily renewal. I wonder how many times must Joseph have doubted his decision to continue on with Mary as his wife. When a friend does something to hurt you, it takes courage to transition that friendship to another phase. That phase does not have to enter as a source of hatred or strife for either of you. You can quietly and lovingly separate yourself from someone without it being kin to an episode of the Real Housewives.
Transitioning a relationship in love is not something most of the world will understand because most of the world does not understand real love. Most people are void of love in their hearts. They feel a tingling in their loins or a flutter in their tummies that they confuse as love. Real love allows you to transition relationships through ups and downs, trials and triumphs. Real love allows you to transition your romantic relationship without transitioning your parenting relationship as co-parents and partners. We have to learn to transition our relationships without feeling like there needs to be a lot of turmoil and fighting. With loving hearts and clean minds we simply transition our titles and relationships into another healthy loving phase. A former MVP still has a trophy on his mantle. A former President still has a living legacy just as a former mate or friend will always have a legacy in your life. Transition gracefully to that place.
“Gathering Moss” a story about managing relationships and family transitions
Dr. Farah Goodwyn is back and she’s trying to put together the broken pieces of her family and her sobriety. A rolling stone gathers no moss, but Farah plans to gather it all up and build a family for he daughter. With her estranged husband, her daughter’s birth parents, her lover, and her best friends, she decides to build a family despite the obvious challenges. Her skill as a psychiatrist has fixed a lot of broken families, but Farah is not sure if she can fix this one on her own.