Posts Tagged ‘How to recover from damaging relationships’

I pushed back the overgrown hedge, chopped at the tangle of old growth, peered in and, “What’s that?”

It’s interesting isn’t it, how the past lurks and shuffles, and twines into the present?

Underneath the overgrown lantana and rampant morning glory hedge was a forgotten thing, planted years earlier, suppressed and neglected but still alive — a gorgeous purple-and-dark-green-leafed Japanese honeysuckle. Lovely! 

It was still there, underneath all those covering plants, its white and purple blooms hanging out of the back of the hedge like a girl’s slip. I’m glad I found it. Next week, I’ll dig it up and replant it below one of the new redwood trellis in the backyard. It will thrive in beauty there.

It’s so interesting. The past just keeps showing up, sometimes pretty and charming — like a lost vine — sometimes ugly, like a past, ruined relationship. 

I woke this morning slightly tormented by something someone hadn’t done for me recently, something I had expected would be done, something that would have been loving, appropriate, pro forma and also classy. 

I couldn’t shake it. 

It’s interesting how the past hangs on, like an old vine, planted in previous seasons. 

This morning i pulled up an old irrigation system in my yard, cut the soft black tubing into pieces and put it in the garbage bin. Previously, I had tired to patched it. That didn’t work — too many breaks and holes and old repairs. So I replaced the entire line. Much better. 

Sometimes it’s best to chop up the past, and toss it out, and start all over. 

I find this kind of sorting of the past to be a constant issue for me, to shed it, to toss it,  and build a new present, or to bring it with me, to bring my past with me and replant it  in a new place in the present. 

But the relationships of the past are not like the things of the past. They won’t be tossed,  like an old irrigation system. Our people remain with us. They won’t be tossed; they persistently remain.  

I have one particular past relationship that was ruined by jealousy and competition. I find that it won’t be fixed, and it won’t be tossed and I can’t forget it, the harm of it, the devastation.

I find that we are who we have known, and we are to some extent, what we have done with other people, and this can’t be undone, and so we bring them along with us wherever we go. Old water tubing can be dug out, and forgotten. Old relationships can’t.

But here is the thing. Every person we have ever known has mostly likely both added to and subtract from our our relational acumen, our relational knowledge. Some have harmed, some done good. But if we so choose, we can learn from each past relationship, learn what to do, or learn what not to do, ever again. 

We are our people, the people we have known, our enemies, our friends, our family, our acquaintances, our ghosts. We can  gain from the gains they brought to us, and we can gain from the losses they brought to us too. We can take even from what they took from us. 

And here is what I know. All things work together for good for those who take the past in their hands, who hold it gently to themselves and who love. For those who cover everything in love and in the forgiveness love brings us, for those who replant every thing in love, for those who in some way tend to and care for all their  Japanese honeysuckles, then there is redemption and love and God.