Thursday, September 1, 2011

Noticing Construction

I was driving a familiar road recently and was very surprised to see a new-looking multi-story brick building. It hadn't been there all the time, had it? Where did it come from? It seems to have been built up while I wasn't paying attention, and now stood strong.

In relationship with someone I've known for years, I had grown accustomed to this person's patterns of putting up walls whenever matters of substance were brought up. In conversation one day, this person displayed courage regarding a challenging situation, boldly trying something new rather than seeking a way out. I was surprised. This kind of response hadn't been there all the time, had it? Where did it come from? It seems to have developed while I wasn't looking, and now stood firm.

I'd struggled in a particular relationship and couldn't engage the other person, much less reach reconciliation. We continued to interact as our paths crossed, which was always a reminder of the conflict. I was hurt and angry, and needed to find a way to love this person -- regardless of whatever else might be the outcome. One day, I was surprised by a twinge of compassion as I recognized a difficult time the other person was experiencing. Where did that come from? It seems to have developed gradually over time as I wrestled with the brokenness between us.

Buildings are constructed, new roadways are created, the landscape is shaped, and people change. There is always intentionality leading to good results, and it is often a very slow, gradual process. Surprised, I think back: That wasn't there this whole time, was it? Where did it come from? And in those moments, I think about the broken parts of my life, the situations around me, and the world as a whole, and I have hope.

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