The bottom line? Broken relationships hurt.
We Aren’t Supposed to be Broken
I had a Honda Civic years ago, and with Honda’s being one of the world’s most reliable cars, I thought that there would never be a problem with it. I loved how it sat low to the ground, had a fast engine, and a great sound system, and I loved how reliable it was. It never broke down and I depended on it every day to carry me there and back. It never even showed signs of breaking, then one day, it broke. I never saw it coming.
Grinding the Axle
I have been entrepreneurial most of my life. In high school I sold candy before class that I had purchase from Revco. It was very profitable. Every day I would turn 10 suckers for $1.00 into $2.25. Not bad. Not long after that, I purchased a Honda Spree scooter that was pretty beat up for $75.00 and sold it for $300.00 after cleaning it up. Then, I caught wind of a go-cart that was for sale. I had always wanted one and this was a perfect opportunity. $100.00 later, I had a functioning go-cart. At least that’s what I thought.
I was delivering newspaper at the time on a bicycle, and I saw the go-cart as an opportunity to be on the cutting edge. I wasn’t thinking I would be re-selling it, I was thinking about using it as a business asset. And I did. With minimal expense, I had the mini-car up and running as my primary paper delivery vehicle. Never mind how dangerous or illegal it was. What I didn’t know, was that the left rear wheel, which was nothing more than the type of wheel you see on a Home Depot hand cart, was engineered to require two separate bearings, one on each side of the wheel’s hub. Bearings allow the wheel to spin freely while keeping the axle centered so the wheel doesn’t wobble. I only had one bearing, and the inside hub, unbeknownst to me, was rubbing the axle. My go-cart, with which I had a great relationship, was slowly failing over time, and I had no idea it was happening. The wheel was grinding away the axle, which wasn’t a replaceable part. Eventually the wheel fell off and the go-cart was broken, as was my relationship with it.
Wear and tear will do that to a car, or go-kart, and it will also do that to a relationship, especially when we fail to pay attention our own personal maintenance needs. In many cases, maintenance works, but what if there are deeper problems that we don’t even know exist? What if the problems that are causing the grinding are so damaging, that they permanently render the relationship broken?
Building on Sand
Building a relationship with someone requires certain tools and materials. When we start building a house without a foundation, with the wrong tools and the wrong materials, it falls over, and we have to start over again…repeatedly. Until we lay a foundation that can withstand the forces that move against a structure under that structure, it will continue to fall. Even if we build the house out of bent and broken material, if we assemble it in a meaningful and secure way, no matter what happens, the foundation will remain in tact to catch the pieces if they happen to crumble at times. All of us have a store of bent 2×4’s in our lives; past relationships that didn’t work very well, marriages that caved under the pressure, abuse, death in the family, addictions, you name it, we have them. That bent material contributes to the path that we travel on every day.