Tag Archives: relationships


Jason is a great husband.  And after seventeen years of marriage we see eye to eye on most things.  This does not apply to decorative pillows.  Our living room and bedroom are adorned with pillows.  I see great purpose in them.   Jason despises them saying they’re not comfortable.  I think they bring color and beauty to the room.  Jason argues that they’re in the way; that they have no purpose.  When he wants to sit on the couch or go to bed, he throws them with disdain.

I despise Kristi’s decorative pillows.  They serve no purpose but to impede my comfort while reclining on my own couch.  When I am tired enough to try to use one as a pillow, I’m reminded how uncomfortable they are.  The fabric is either rough, or crackly, or the pillow is an odd shape.  They frustrate me.

Some decorative pillows are just dangerous.  I’ve seen pillows covered with pheasant feathers.   Feathers are supposed to be inside the pillow, not on it.  You can lay your head down to rest and come up with a quill stuck in your ear!

They come with sequins, too.  Can you imagine the comfort that comes from laying your cheek down on a bed of sequins!

Most have this little zipper whose pull tab always seems to be poking out.  You can’t have a pillow fight with zipper tabs sticking out everywhere.

You can’t have a pillow fight at all with these decorative pillows!

I don’t want to fight about pillows.  I don’t even want to fight with pillows.  But if we were fighting, I would want to be able to have a pillow fight!


But I argue that beauty is not always comfortable.

Comfortable is not always good.  Jason picked out the couches.  People have commented on how difficult it is to get up once having sunk into the thick cushions.  And though I want our guests and Jason to be comfortable I suspect that if the pillows weren't there, Jason might not ever get up.

Comfort invites you to stay.  Beauty invites you to go.  After sitting within the comfort of the couches, there is a silent urging from the pillows to move along in renewed strength; that is unless you've chunked them onto the floor.

As a Christian I often get comfortable in my walk, and I like it.  I will remove any obstacle that stands between me and my comfort.  I think of times that I have not wanted to approach people in pain.  Those who have faced tragedy.  It can be uncomfortable not knowing what to say.

I remember anxiously approaching one lady who had lost her four year old son.  Without words I held her hand and we cried together in a crowd of people.  That beauty has stayed with me.

There are other times I know I should invite someone to church or share what God has done in my life, but it can be awkward—similar to laying your head on a pillow with pheasant feathers.  It's easiest to cast those things which bring discomfort aside.  Choosing not to deal with those things that make us uncomfortable often cause us to miss out on beauty intended.

I remember a few times where I was faithful to have that awkward conversation with someone upon the prompting of the spirit.  There are times I have walked into a hospital room or a funeral home anxious and uncomfortable but willing.  It is in those times that God displays his beauty.  It is in abandoning comfort that beauty soothes my soul.  And as comfort from a couch quickly evaporates when my feet hit the floor, beauty often remains in my sight traveling down to the depths of my heart.  Beauty is worth it.

In spite of hating her decorative pillows, this is one area that I have come to have a deep appreciation for Kristi.  Can you imagine what the house would look like if the decorating were up to me?

Let me draw you a mental picture: One big cushy couch in the middle of the room.  One 80” TV on the wall.  One large wire spool picked up from the side of the road to set my feet on and to hold my bag of potato chips.  No art.  No decorations.  No pillows.  No Beauty.

I’m getting sad just thinking about it.  I think I can put up with a few snazzy pillows

This is just one area where we have found compromise.  There is an artfulness to compromise in relationships.  Neither one of us has to give up our preferences.  I still have my cushy couch.  She has her pretty pillows.  The house has beauty and functionality.

“And the two shall become one flesh.”

Life is full of that delicate balance between comfort and aesthetics.  Between conviction and convenience.  Between action and hesitation.


One of the keys to an artful life is finding that compromise, that balance, between what we know and what we feel.  Finding that place of agreement with what we want and what we need.  Arriving at the spot where form and function meet.

Do you find compromise easy or difficulty?

How do you arrive at that Just Right spot in your decisions?

Are you more for functionality or style?

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I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education.  According to degree requirements, you had to have two areas of specialization.  I love reading, so specializing in Reading was a no brainer.  My other choice was made with more creative thought.  Math was not my subject and I already had several Biology courses under my belt.  Biology seemed to be the easiest and most convenient route.  It's amazing how much you forget, but interesting the things you remember.  I still remember that Scrophulariaceae is the scientific family name for the common foxglove flower. When you least expect it, some seemingly useless piece of information like this pops into your head.

You may not have ever heard or cared about the scientific name for the foxglove, but I'm pretty sure you have heard of scavengers and parasites.  You have surely witnessed scavengers feeding off of dead organisms. It's also likely you've dealt parasites; organisms which have a self-beneficial relationship with a host which is entirely different (for example a flea on your furry friend).  Before I bore you to tears, I'll try to explain where I'm going with this. Oddly, I found some similarity between simple organism and inter-human relationships.

Parasites, as we know, are organisms that thrive by taking advantage of a host.  The parasite often grows, feeds or finds shelter from the other organism, often causing  it harm. The cute bird perched on the giraffe's neck in the picture above looks to be a pal.  The bird grooms the giraffe by ridding him of a hundred or more ticks, plus thousands of tick larvae daily. Surprisingly, in addition to the tick being a parasite, the bird is also said to be parasitic in relationship to the giraffe.  The bird, once it removes the ticks, feeds on the giraffe's blood and is also known to peck at the sight causing wounds.

Do you know people who suck the joy right out of you leaving you deflated or even wounded?

Often unintentionally, a critical spirit will search out a joyous host and attempt to sap the joy and then peck on the fresh wound. 

  This is often done with the misconception that sapping someone else's joy will increase your own, but it doesn't work that way.

Don't be a joy sapper!

Let's talk about scavengers.  We don't possibly know anyone who feasts on carnage, do we?  I've seen my share of buzzards and shudder at the thought of resembling one.  Scavengers feed off of their dead host to get energy and nourishment.

Does a nonliving host exist with humans?

If so, do we expect this host to sustain our life?  Hmmm.  Anybody want to talk about money?  Or maybe a new shirt or cute new pair of shoes?  There's nothing like entertainment to sustain me. "There's that movie I've been dying to see."  "If we could just fix the floors and get new countertops".  Why are we seemingly dependent on that which has no life.  Why do we feed on substance incapable of giving us life?

 Material possessions are often a life-filling substitution, but don't really foster growth, development or joy.


I find myself giddy when something random relates to who God is and what he does.  Honestly, it's probably not as random as I believe;

For since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made...

-Romans 1:20.

Even the imperfect things, such as parasites which do not seemingly reflect his glory- point us to Him.  He planned it all out perfectly.

So... ending on a brighter note, I have learned of a new type of symbiosis, or organism association.  I don't remember ever hearing the term before.

 Commensalism is a type of association between organisms where one organism benefits- leaving the other not harmed, but also not in need of it's host.  What got me excited in reading about this type of symbiosis is that the word made up of com and mensa  means "sharing a table".   One example would be barnacles which have access to nutrients in the water by fastening themselves to whales; dinner and a free cruise.

 I also read that in the Arctic tundra, caribous hunt by digging for lichen plants in the snow.  The Arctic fox follows the caribou, finding its underground prey which has been surfaced thanks to the caribou; a sort of perpetual "lunch is on me" relationship.  I don't remember learning about commensalism in Biology.  It reminds me of our relationship with God; so off balance with benefit to us. While he doesn't need us, he stoops down in order to be in relationship with us!

 He "shares a table" with us.

  This fact blows me away.  Hopefully God receives glory from me in the way that I live, but you know what?  If neither I, nor any person,  lived to bring him glory, "the rocks would cry out" (in his name) Luke 19:40.  He doesn't need us.  The whale and caribou are unintentionally beneficial. The bird and other parasites harm their hosts.  Scavengers have no relationship, but only feed on death. God has created us with the purpose of being in a loving, living relationship with us.  He enjoys us!

The imperfection that flaws my every earthly relationship, does not exist in my relationship with God; thanks be to Christ who makes this possible.

I am imperfect and can add nothing to the table in which God and I share.  The life I have so graciously been given is only sustained at his table.

.....love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.  For the LORD is your life....-Deuteronomy 30:20 

Picture above taken at Masai Mara Wildlife Reserve in Kenya.