Refreshing Relationships // Positively Speaking // Mark Wilson

“Many people will walk in and out of your life,” observed Eleanor Roosevelt, “but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”

We were created to enjoy refreshing relationships. These are the friendships that fill the tank, energize the spirit, and inspire hope of better days.

In the hectic bustle of life, it is easy to “skim over” relationships — barely connecting on a surface level. Relational skimming might be a good method to save time, but it is a terrible way to build lasting, loving friendships.

Hermits are abnormal. If we hide from people, we starve the source of inner health. Sometimes, people go through life in a flurry of activities, but internally, they are not much more than emotional hermits. Big “No Trespassing” signs are posted at the boundaries. Nobody can get through the walls.

Granted, huge emotional barriers block out the pain of life — but they also captivate loneliness. When you fail to open your heart, it hurts a lot less, but costs a lot more. It is impossible to love through a wall.

We really do need each other.

Jesus, himself, stated that loving your neighbor as yourself is a part of the greatest commandment. It is the essence of genuine living. Enjoying a good laugh with a true friend, you cannot help but think, “I was created for this.”

If you’re not loving, you’re not really living.

Today, in a society that celebrates the superficial, the deepest need of the human heart is to be loved unconditionally.

I once approached my buddy named Syd, from Australia, with a handy phrase I picked up from Crocodile Dundee, “G’d mornin’, Mate!” Syd replied “There’s a big difference between a casual friend and mate. I’m enjoying becoming your friend, but I don’t think were mates yet.”

Being sanguine and American, I couldn’t quite figure out what Syd was talking about. Now, I’m a bit older and wiser. I understand.

The deeper friendships aren’t trivial things — they go to the very core of our existence.

“Mates” know everything about you and love you anyway. They are safe and comfortable. They won’t gossip about your flaws, but they will hold you accountable. They will speak the truth with a caring heart and they never expect you to be anything except yourself.

Who wouldn’t want friendships like that? Yet, there are so few of them. Why? Because we are not willing to take the risk and pay the price in time, trust, and emotional energy.

Two of my favorite writers, Melville and Hawthorne, had a deep relationship like that. Melville described it this way: “Your heart beats in my ribs and mine in yours — and both in God’s. When big hearts strike together, the concussion is a little stunning.”

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10655 Nyman Ave
Hayward, WI 54843

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