Hitched to a Rough Road



Photo Credit:  Peggy James


I got his email and wanted to shout:  “Hey, buster, does the phrase “continued behavior pattern” mean anything to you?  But I didn’t.

Travis is at it again.  His email revealed a litany of complaints about our neighborhood, our country road, our board officers, bad decisions made that will cost him money, yada-yada-yada.

Travis is a Christian brother but you’d never know it.

He is a large, loud man who shoots his mouth off as often as he shoots his guns back here in the hills.  He interrupts at our road meetings and, like a typical hothead, he speaks truth but with a tone that makes me feel like I need to duck in case some of his words fly at me and smack me upside the face.

I thought we were making progress, but we’re not.


It is our rough road that brings us together.  Last year we picked up the neglected pieces of our road association.  We agreed to assemble once again to talk, make decisions, and improve our road. 






It’s slow going!


That’s not fair; I’m too idealistic.  I hate conflict.  I just want all of us to get along.  Will we ever get to the place of pot luck? 

Travis reminds me of Jesus’ friend, Peter.  How did Jesus handle him? Peter, a hothead, and quick on the draw, made mistakes.  He must have hated himself when he failed his best friend.  He quit and ran to his old fishing ways.


I wonder if that’s how Travis feels.  Does he feel bad about himself?  Is that why he can’t love us back?


What did Jesus do?
Jesus didn’t put Peter down or make him feel “less than”.   He called Peter forth into being a strong, steady man.  That’s what He spoke over him.  He fed him breakfast. 

Peter reached his full potentialWe all can reach our full potential if we remember Jesus is for us.  Each day gives us a new start.

We meet for business in the neighbor’s barn.  I arrived early and joined some of the guys hobnobbing near the horses.  Travis smiled and extended a friendly handshake.  I placed my arms around his thick middle and gave him a bear hug instead.

You should have seen his face.

Immediately he whispered “I will never forget the first Christmas when some of us moved out here and you invited all of us over on Christmas Day.  You cared.”

It was a community effort, not just me,” I corrected.   We laughed as I reminded him how I roped in the kids on the street behind me and made Christmas cookies with them.  I bribed them with chocolate kisses if they would deliver our homemade party invitations to the neighbors. 


Travis remembered from so long ago!  Did it mean that much?  


 Love never gives up, never loses faith,
 is always hopeful,
and endures through every circumstance.
1 Corinthians 13:7


I like to think that although we’re simple ragamuffins living back here in the hills, we can care for one another like that again.

I’m not giving up.


And you…hug a Meany this week.  I double dog dare you.

Comments

  1. I love this post, Mary!
    Why, I'll bet every last ounce of pent-up frustration just evaporated when you bear-hugged Travis! I think it's a safe bet that no-one else in your community would have cared enough to do so.
    ... I think it's also a safe bet you made Mr. God smile, as well.

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    1. I'm glad I wrote about it, too, Myra. If anything to remind myself that love doesn't give up and to be accountable to you guys!

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  2. I can imagine you being a person who would not give up; you probably opened a lot of doors by that "simple" hug :)

    betty

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    1. Those tough cookies don't mean to be so mean, I think. Wounded people wound people. Man, it's hard not to respond like them.

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  3. I have run into people like this and often people forget that they need love, too, perhaps even more so, because they are miserable, and this is why they behave the way they do. I used to work as a manager in a retail store and I had a woman come in one day who was pretty angry. She was an elderly woman and I smiled at her and just let her talk and speak about what was bothering her. By the time she finished ranting she looked at me and smiled and told me that I was such a nice person. It may not have ended this way had I ranted back to her or gotten angry or impatient with her. Love and kindness go very far. Bless you, dear friend.

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    1. Thank you for your story, Linda. It is very encouraging to me and inspires me!

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  4. You know, my friend, that relationships seem to be an area that God is dealing with me about over the last several months. Know how I can tell? Because the same thing keeps happening. May be with different people and different situations (because we are all different). But do you know what I know the Lord has been trying to drill into me? The very verse you shared here...1 Cor. 13:7. And how I'm learning that it is those who are the most unlovable who need to be loved the most...not with my love but with HIS. Not always an easy "assignment", but hopefully I am learning.

    Hugs to you, Girlfriend. I'll be looking forward to hearing how you and your dancing shoes that you packed got along. :)

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  5. You know, my friend, that relationships seem to be an area that God is dealing with me about over the last several months. Know how I can tell? Because the same thing keeps happening. May be with different people and different situations (because we are all different). But do you know what I know the Lord has been trying to drill into me? The very verse you shared here...1 Cor. 13:7. And how I'm learning that it is those who are the most unlovable who need to be loved the most...not with my love but with HIS. Not always an easy "assignment", but hopefully I am learning.

    Hugs to you, Girlfriend. I'll be looking forward to hearing how you and your dancing shoes that you packed got along. :)

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    1. It really is about people and not things, my friend. Your comment is so heartwarming and sharing God's love should be top priority. Relationships are challenging!

      I did dance with the little one, but I giggled immensely in fact one night my throat was sore. She is so much fun!!! My love tank is full and overflowing!

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  6. Oh, what a precious post, Mary! I can just imagine you doing something like this. You have such a dear, kind, generous heart. If only there were more like you to love the ones like Travis!! Jesus shines so sweetly through you, my friend. :) Thank you for sharing this...what a blessing.

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    1. With those kind words, Cheryl, I'm going to try harder!
      I'm happy you were blessed.

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  7. A hug can save lives. It really does.

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    1. Hi, Lux:
      I think hugs should be part of our Christian armor!

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  8. praying for this situation, love you.

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    1. Well then things are really going to change around here!!!!!!

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  9. Such a great post, Mary! A hug can melt the hardest heart. I pray that things begin to change for you all there.

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    1. I can't tell you how I appreciate your prayers. The road is our nemesis. Only half pay their dues to maintain it and of course, many complain! My fear is that my friends won't want to visit me all the way back here because of the road.

      Thank you!

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  10. Awww, your story is touching. Wish you were my neighbor! You are the kind everyone wants to live near. I also love your flowers in the first photo. So pretty!

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    1. I would love to have you as my neighbor, Terri! It would be heavenly.

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  11. You have done something which many people forget to do. You have shown love to someone who is hurting inside, you have touched his hurting heart by your simple act of love. Maybe most of us do not have the courage to reach out in love for fear of being rejected.

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    1. Good point, Nancy. Oh, for this guy to realize how scary his masculine anger is to a woman. He has no clue. I'm friends with his ex-wife and told her this story & she listened quietly processing the pain I'm sure. She liked the ending.

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  12. Hi Mary! You are my hero. Really! You went right in and hugged a meany. Wow. And to think that he had this memory of your kindness and neighborly ways all this time? You make a lasting impression my friend.
    I am just like you. Not much for conflict. Why can't we all just love each other? There is so much beauty in not being the same. But we have to respect each other too. That's the true path to love.

    Wonderful story today,
    Ceil

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    1. True, Ceil. He has so much good to add to our community with his boldness. It's the delivery that's bad. I do have his favor though; he always asks Tom how I'm doing! We can all grow from this if we want to.

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  13. You're sweeter than me Mary! LOL I struggle with the christian meanies but God continues to bring them across my path so I know He is wanting ME to grow. I am getting better although I'm not there yet. I haven't arrived but I've left.;-)

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    1. I struggle too, Lisa. Nobody likes to be roughed up. We women take it more personally. Guys just punch each other and then go fishing together.

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  14. Touching story, Mary. You a very good example of a believer who is living it and not just talking about it! There is so much talk going around we really need the doers!
    I love you friend!
    God Bless

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    1. We need the doers--and we need their stories of how they processed their feelings and resolved to do better. And then be inspired by what God can do in the end! We'll all benefit.

      Love you back, Sis!

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  15. Normal challenges in our world. All we can count on is Jesus and how the Word breaks into our lives and protects and keeps us no matter what is going on. I sure loved seeing your flowers, BTW. You are a treat! Bless you, Dear.

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    1. These are my neighbor's flowers and they just make me happy!

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  16. I love this post! This has blessed me so much. It really hit a cord because for the past two weeks we have been studying about Peter and the kind of friend that Jesus was to him. WOW...my friend...you are that friend too! Love you! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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    1. Isn't it interesting how Jesus views us with an eternal perspective? I like the way he spoke what people will be, not what is being acted out in the present. Gives me hope!

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  17. Well this is just awesome. You, my friend are the heart, hands, and arms, of our Savior. That's the kind of love that changes folks. That's isn't just words, those are backed up with the real love of God. That's what people see in you. He's changing and God's using you to do it. That rough road has a purpose. Bring the inclement weather!

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    1. What a nice compliment. Maybe I better stop yelling at my computer when i get these nasty emails then so I live up to these kind words. Ha.

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  18. 'We all reach our full potential if we remember Jesus is with us.' I love that line. And so true. You were a light to Travis to reach his full attention. I will be looking at giving as many bear hugs as I can today!

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    1. May the Lord bless you, Lynn, as you look for ways to give out those big meaningful hugs!

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  19. Love the pic that went well with your post! Often times, it is difficult to picture loving the "thorns" in this place but what difference when we put the "God-eyes" and see its "heart/beauty" instead.Being hurt from some relationships, I believe sometimes, when others offended us, it can lead to "dis-trust" and either that, one tries to isolate and just detaches even from a potential, healthy and much-needed relationship. Now that I have slowed down even more as I ended my correctional career, funny how I will miss those "thorns" when they were the reasons I had some stormy times when I was there in that workplace. After all, God uses them to make us stronger in dealing with the pain and also, to truly reflect on ourselves and He makes me realize I can be a "thorn" too if I choose to do things my way. Hugs and blessings sister. You are inspiring with that faith-filled heart that has His love always overflowing. Be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Love this post.

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    1. So much insight, my friend, to help me understand the meanies. It is the enemy's ploy to bring on that rejection you mention. Yet the Lord showed us the opposite of detachment and isolation. It sounds like you're getting a much needed rest. Thanks for connecting; I've been curious about you! Love you.

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