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When do you feel the most tension?
When do you feel the most relaxed?

This Chinese proverb took me quite by surprise. The truth in it is so simple. I thought I would come up with all kinds of scenarios to answer the question. WAY too many to include in a post! But I realized as I pondered the questions that my response depends a lot on who I’m engaging with if it’s a with a person.

Case in point… Our daughter and her family moved back to Utah from Maryland in March of 2017. She seemed so uptight all the time it made me really uncertain of how to take her sometimes. Washington D.C. is a whole world away from Utah, and she’d been gone almost ten years. Utah is a culture shock for anyone who has never lived here, but it didn’t occur to me Stef might have readjustment stress. We kind of fed off each other, I think. I was so tense around her and the kids that it was downright uncomfortable to be with them. And I didn’t make an effort to visit all that often.

Fast forward to the last few months and after two years Stef has finally settled in. We noticed a big change in her. Suddenly she was the laid back daughter we raised. In the last two months we’ve had three mother/daughter dates (the movies, Starbucks, and Olive Garden) And not sensing that tension in her, I was at last able to just be myself and enjoy my time with her.

That was quite a revelation to me, but when I considered other relationships, it made perfect sense. That’s not the only time I’m apt to get tense, of course. But that’s a huge part of it for me.

What do you think? Am I off base here? How would YOU answer those questions?

(My son just wisely counseled me that the further away we are from who we’re meant to be, the more tension and unhappiness we’ll feel. Lot of truth in that, too…)


Picture Source: http://www.facebook.com/shenworks