(from Dottie Mae, Flikr)
Over the last few weeks, I have noticed that my kitchen faucet didn't have very good water pressure even when the pressure pump was on. Water was barely coming out. At first I thought it was due to the cold weather but as the weather has become warmer, the faucet still wasn't putting out more water. In fact the water that did come out would leave you with a wet shirt. So at supper one night I mentioned to my DH that there was a problem with my kitchen faucet. He replied that it had a filter I should be cleaning out every month or so. Now to my defense, this was the first I had heard of cleaning out filters but it did sound like a solution to our problem. Later that night we took apart the faucet and dumped out the little rocks that had made their home there. We soaked a few parts in a vinegar/ water mixture. The next morning after reassembling the faucet, the water flowed out smoothly and with lots of pressure. It had been a long time since the water had come out so well. I guess over time I didn't notice the decrease in the water flow until it became really obvious.
Our communication with others can sometimes be like my faucet. Everything is going smoothly. We understand each other. We ask questions. We talk it out. It is like the faucet when it is new. Then over time it starts to slow down a little. Maybe a few rocks are stuck in the filter or some calcium deposits are building up. We stop asking for clarification. We assume. We don't expend the energy needed to make the communication better. Even though the communication isn't as good we either don't notice or ignore the problem. Then suddenly it is like the water/communication is forced or barely existent. This filter of ours has been clogged for so long that our communication is faulty. We have built up preconceived notions and have our minds made up. We get upset over things we shouldn't get upset over. Have you ever had a relationship with someone where you needed to get your communication filter cleaned out or replaced? For example, maybe your filter is seeing the things your spouse is doing wrong but ignoring the ways they are trying to be there for you. Maybe your filter is seeing how rude or obnoxious a friend is but not how much they are hurting. Or maybe your filter is seeing your child misbehaving again but fails to see that he or she is longing to spend time with you. Each day presents communication where if we don't do it with the help of God's spirit we will miss what we really need to see and hear.
Communicating with others is always challenging for me. It is an area that I have been trying to work on especially with my students at school. In any relationship, when the communication stops, the relationship breaks down. On the good days, I find myself starting off the day praying for God to help me see others as he sees them. On the bad days, I find myself praying for forgiveness for not truly seeing the problem.
Dear God, You are the master communicator. You desire to communicate with us. Show me if there is anything that is getting in the way of that communication. Help me today to see others as you see them. May your spirit guide my listening and my words. May I not give up with those I am having trouble communicating with. Show me how to care for and love them. Amen