Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cardinal Impact and Relationships

"That you and I differ in our idea of the best form of government is well known to both of us, but that we have differed as friends should do, respecting the purity of each other's motives, and confiding our differences of opinion to private conversation."
-Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Adams

"You and I ought not to die before we explain ourselves to each other."
-John Adams in a letter to Thomas Jefferson after their reconciliation (1812 or 1813)

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
-Newton's Third Law

Cardinal Impact (a debate term): preservation of life or the loss of life.

"Oh, Jesus loves me..."
-Mere's rendition of Yes, Jesus Loves Me (she takes after her mom)

I have always enjoyed being different. Maybe it is the strong will with which I was born. 

I eschew trends. I will jump off a bandwagon faster than you can say, "jack be nimble", if I think it is a bandwagon. "Everyone is doing it!" is the way to get me to absolutely not do something.

As I've grown older, I've come to embrace my differences and other's differences. Different is not a threatening concept. Different is not a dirty word. It is a beautiful concept. It is a rainbow of nuances and strengths and preferences.

But for some people, differences of opinion and practice are the Cardinal Impact of a relationship. Differences are the death knell. Differences are the break rather than the make.

Some differences are big differences. They may even be worth Cardinal Impact. Religion, sexuality, politics. 

Some differences are little differences. Skinny jeans, Target, gender reveal parties, tattoos, Alaskan cruises.

These differences should not break relationships.

Social media has redefined friendship. We can all now have hundreds or thousands of friends, that we can like or unlike at any given time. Cardinal impact...

True friends realize that as we are two different human beings, there will be differences of opinion and practice. True friends don't attack motives. True friends think of differences as (maybe) ironic but  (definitely) as complementary.

My BFF and I have been friends since we were 12. We are very alike. And we are very different. We both love to read and cook and run our businesses and garden and teach. I am very passionate and opinionated. She is more go with the flow.

She thinks I am crazy for having home births. She is more of an adrenalin junky. She wanted to attend police academy. She was a mall cop and head of mall security at big malls for many years. I wanted to get married and have a family.

We are different. It hasn't hurt our relationship at all.

My sister (from the same set of parents, ironically enough) loves shopping at Target and loves doing crafts. Scrapbooking, Pinteresty ideas. She is all over that. And she is great at it. She went to beauty school. She actually gives her daughter hair-dos. My daughters are having a "good hair" day if I get around to brushing their hair.

Our differences have not hurt our relationship at all.

I have friends who are whizzes at home decorating. I look at their homes and my jaw drops. Their talent stuns me. It inspires me. I appreciate (and even copy-on a very scaled back level) the beauty they create. But, it isn't me. I have never has a desire to change my mantel every month to fit the holiday or season. (maybe that is because I don't have a mantel.) Frankly, once I find something that works, it stays forever. 

When my friends read posts like last week's Overrated, they chuckle, because they already know these things about me. They know that I'd rather be hung by my toenails than cut out intricate invitations or crafts. They know that I avoid baby and wedding showers like the plague (which dovetails nicely with the gender-reveal aversion). They know that I hate needles and I never shop at Target and trouser cut jeans are my daily uniform.

Real friends realize that these things may impact our relationship (who's going to invite me to shop with them at Target or get matching tats?), but they are not differences that have Cardinal Impact on our relationship. They will not kill it.

People who aren't true friends get offended. They think a post about my preferences is about them. They think I am judging, when all I am doing is bucking the system. And being ME. To these people, these differences do have Cardinal Impact on our relationship. These differences might just kill the relationship.

So, what is the difference between true friends and not so true friends? Or how about true friends and the "social media" idea of friends?

I think it boils down to the motive issue. True friends assume the best even when maybe they shouldn't. 

Fringe friends assume the worst, over and over and over again.

True friends, if they can't get beyond the worst to the best, will come to you about it. True friends will say, "that hurt." or "What did you mean by that?" Fringe friends won't. 

True friends see the heart. Fringe friends only try to see the surface.

This blog is not as private as a letter between two people (i.e. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson) thus keeping differences of opinion to private conversation. It reaches hundreds of people from many different demographics every single day. But, I do think of it as a letter to my friends. I do think of it as a conversation. Almost every post ends with a question because I want to hear your thoughts, your views, your differences. 

Here, in this blog, I am sharing a glimpse of my personality, life, doings, and opinions. And, I fully expect people to disagree with me and have their own opinions and practices. If they didn't, I would wonder what was wrong-with me, and with you.

My goal, in writing, is to talk with my friends and family. To encourage and motivate my friends and family to wait on the Lord and renew their strength. To run and not grow weary. To walk and not faint. My goal in writing is to challenge you. My goal is never to hurt or offend.

How do differences impact your relationships? Have you ever had to end a relationship due to cardinal differences?