Not many days go by that I don’t observe the consequences of throw away relationships. In working with police officers every week, I frequently observe juveniles who are attempting to navigate the turbulent years of adolescence without the helpful guidance of stable parents. It is not uncommon to see divorced parents acting worse than a couple of unsupervised 5 year olds. The police end up serving as referees in an ugly game that appears to have no end in sight.
It is not uncommon to deal with single mothers who have a constant parade of live in boyfriends that rarely stay around for any length of time. More often than not such individuals have significant criminal history. That kind of behavior of course creates an ideal environment for innocent children to be victims of sexual assault or some other heinous crime. That may sound a little extreme, but I am basing that observation on actual field experiences that I have encountered over a period of two decades. It is more common than you might think.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are very responsible single moms and dads doing a fabulous job raising their children. Several of them are among my closest friends. I realize they are flying solo whereas I have a wonderful partner to help me every step of the way. It is not an easy task, but their commitment to their children supersedes any inclinations they have toward selfish behavior. They are an inspiration to all of us.
During this holiday weekend I have seen both extremes. Friday night I rode out on the night shift with the officers working patrol. It was not an uncommon experience on the night shift. We dealt with adults acting like unsupervised 5 year olds on domestic disturbance calls. All of the involved parties were quite accustomed to throwing relationships away like a paper plate at a Labor Day picnic.
And then yesterday I had an experience on the other side of the relational spectrum. I attended a reception honoring some friends who have been married for 50 years. It was of course great fun to see pictures from their “dating years” that were pre-1960! They were a great looking couple back then and they still are today. This particular reception had an unusual twist to it…
Every member of the original wedding party was present for the reception! They posed for the group yesterday in the same order that they did in 1960 for the wedding for pictures taken at the ceremony. It added a great touch to the events of the day. As I watched all of this unfold, it occurred to me that the couple who were being honored are special people in more ways than one. They are to be commended for their commitment to each other. But they should also be honored for maintaining healthy relationships with friends and members of their extended family who comprised the wedding party in 1960. Throwing away relationships is a foreign concept to my friends who were honored with a beautiful reception yesterday.
Observing notable examples of all kinds of human behavior is pretty helpful. I find that I learn from poor examples as well as good ones. But today I am thankful for my friends who have stayed committed to each other for 50 years, because I am quite confident they have blessed untold lives along the way. It occurred to me after their reception that they have been among those in Granbury who have been dedicated friends from the very first day we moved here. That should come as no great surprise.
I want to be a similar blessing to my friends. As this long weekend comes to a halt very soon, I am thinking the word “dedication” needs to be first and foremost on my mind. It really has been a good holiday. It has been a weekend of extremes…