Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Better Together

“Two are better than one. . . If one falls down, his friend can help him up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)

Last week I wrote about the dangers involved in making demands or placing expectations on those we love. The price tag is extremely high, so we need to ask ourselves: Is getting my way really all that important?

Here is a poem my friend Pat Bartlett wrote on the subject:

Expectation or Acceptance

By Patricia Kohls Barrett

Expectations can destroy any relationship
From good friendships to wedded bliss
If you expect fulfillment of your desires
The joy from “freely given” you might miss

Expectation is only centered on self
It says, “What can you give to please me?”
True love is self-giving and accepting
Seeks to please the other, is “expecting” free

If you aren’t given what you expect
Disappointment and displeasure rush in
Expressed with sad voice and actions
Deterring one whose heart you would win

What’s the worth of a coerced treat,
That has the same value of a solicited bribe?
It might give some momentary pleasure
But warm fondness it does not describe

How do you respond when feeling forced?
Do you feel endearment and friendly regard?
Doesn’t it build a wedge that shoves apart,
That warmth and attachment retard?

It’s good to communicate what you favor
Strong ties come from sharing who you are
Helps each one relate to the other
Builds devotion and closeness above par

This sharing includes careful listening
About a loved one’s favorite pastime
When the enthusiasm you do not share
But your buddy’s feelings you hold prime

Each is loved and accepted as unique
With a personal giving from the heart
True love appreciates individual traits
Gratefulness and acceptance impart

Unselfish love receives graciously
What is given with love and devotion
As a piece of the giver’s kind heart
Conveyed with sincere fond emotion

Selfish expectations stifles and destroys
Centering on “other” brings warmth and growth
Accepts what is given, looks for ways to please
Bringing happiness and fulfillment for both

“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.”

~ I Peter 3:8

It’s important to recognize the benefits of flexibility and freedom in our relationships.

“Truly loving another means letting go of all expectations. It means full acceptance, even celebration of another’s personhood.”

~ Author Unknown

Recently I emailed the above quote to Keen. His response, along with our brief exchange follows:

Keen: What a great way to say I love you --- no expectations, no control, just love.

Eileen: Amen. Just love and full support. Knowing someone is - and always will be - in your corner.

Keen: I am always in your corner.

Eileen: Thank you, Keen. And I'll always be in yours.

I love you.

Who I Am
(and who I’m not)

By Eileen Umbehr

I may not meet the expectations
Of everyone in my life
I may not win a big award
For best mother, friend or wife

But all I can do
Is what I can
And all I can be
Is who I am

So even though you may not understand
Why I live my life as I do
Please try to accept me for who I am
And I will do the same for you

Then at the end of the day
I hope to hear Him say –
“Well done.”

“Tolerance and celebration of individual differences is the fire that fuels lasting love.” ~ Tom Hannah