Monday, October 5, 2009

The Importance of Meaningful Relationships

My wife and I were watching a movie the other day about a young man who decided to move to Alaska and live all by himself in an old bus in the middle of nowhere. He felt was able to survive by himself without the companionship of other people. The movie portrayed a number of relationships that others tried to have with him but that he walked away from. He walked away from those relationships because he had been hurt by a close relationship he had in his childhood. That made him afraid to have another deep relationship. The movie then gave a very moving depiction of how he made a mistake in reading his book on plant life and accidentally ate a poisonous plant. Regretfully, that led to his death a few days later. He died as he had lived, isolated and alone. The movie was based on a true story that was portrayed in a popular book written by the young man’s family after his body was found several weeks later by hunters.

As I have reflected on that movie over the past few days it occurs to me that it is a picture of the lives of far too many young people. Many young people have been hurt in their lives and that hurt has caused them to emotionally isolate themselves from those around them. They think they can make it all on their own without other people. But God has designed us to need each other. We need relationships with others. Even though we can be hurt by relationships, we really cannot live without them. Had that young man in the movie had some other people with him, they might have noticed when he mistook a poisonous plant for an edible one. Or perhaps they would have been able to help him hike back to town and seek medical help. Even if he felt he really needed some time alone, had he been willing to share his life with others, they would have known where he was and could have come looking for him when he did not return. Unfortunately since he told no one where he had gone, no one could come rescue him. The story had a sad ending, but what made it even sadder was that it did not have to end that way. He did not have to die alone and isolated far from home in an abandoned school bus. But he was not willing to open himself up to other people and trust them. His determination to do it all on his own resulted in his untimely and tragic death.

As I think about how all this relates to the young adults I minister to, it becomes obvious to me that I must help young adults be willing to trust. I must help them be willing to open themselves up to having deep and meaningful relationships. Even though we may have been hurt in the past, and there is a chance we may be hurt in the future, the reality is, we cannot live happy productive lives without relationships. Relationships are a risk, but we must realize that relationships are a risk worth taking.

10 comments:

  1. This is so true Terry. Wow I needed this too. I continually pray for you guys and the ministry. Keep it up! :)

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  2. Every relationship has the potential to hurt us in mind, body and spirit, but... every relationship also has the potential to open us to a world of happiness, healing, love, security,pride and confidence. It is all in how we chose to allow that relationship to have an impact in our lives!

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  3. This is great Terry! One very important thing to all this too is that you are who you are... and the young people around this area are fortunate enough to have you at Faith Community Church! I personally have seen the difference your influence can have in a young person's life. They trust in you and this could be a start to a whole new life for these kids because you are aware of the issues they have and have no problem showing them love, and the support and the acceptance they need often times by someone outside the situtation they may be in. I could go on and on but won't!

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  4. Thank you Terry. I needed that.

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  5. Christopher RaicheOctober 7, 2009 at 2:00 PM

    Thanks soo much Terry for that note. I really needed that. I was hurt by a relationship when I was younger and since then I've struggled to trusted anyone enough to be in a relationship. Thank you for opening my eyes to this new fact that I do need other people in my life.

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  6. The willingness to open ourselves to meaningful relationships is so hard, yet so important. It takes faith. Lord, increase our faith!

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  7. I watched that movie too. I thought it was a bit depressing. He seemed like such a fine young man but he wasted his life.

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  8. I am thankful for the relationships I have. I couldn't make it without my friends.

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  9. Looking for practical ways to put some of the principles in this blog post into action? Purchase my book, Developing Leadership Teams in the Bivocational Church. The first part of the book explains why bivocational ministry is biblical, normal and missional. The second part of the book explains how to mobilize the laity to do high level ministry in a team setting with the pastor so that the church can be effective in reaching its community for Christ.
    The book is published by Crossbooks and you can buy the book directly from them at:

    http://www.crossbooks.com/BookStore/BookStoreBookDetails.aspx?bookid=58188

    The book is also available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Nobles.com and a many other online bookstores.
    If you live in Central Vermont, you can purchase a copy at the Faith Community Church in Barre, VT.

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  10. Just stumbled across this post from 2009. Really helpful.

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