Life runs on relationships

Close-Up #3 Saturday 19 August 2017   Of the central role of relationships in our lives, Joan Chittister wrote, “At its core, life is not about things, it is about relationships.”

That takes me back to a repeated comment from my first boss, Boyd Nelson: “Communication is a function of relationships.”

Relationships, rah! rah! for relationships. Relationships grow and deepen over one’s lifespan. We’d be hard-pressed to run on relationship-empty. Marty and I have just planned an annual get-together with friends at a distance to enjoy good food and chew the rag. By way of confirmation one of them replied,  “Until then, avoid grinding your teeth.” We’ll have ample time then, again, to solve the world’s problems.

Chittister in The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully (BlueBridge, New York, 2008), said there is intention built into every stage of life, the task of this later one “is not simply to endure the coming of the end of time. It is to come alive in ways I have never been alive before.”

I picked up the book at the library, however it is one I’ll add to my shelf if I find it at a used bookstore. She speaks the truth eloquently in an introduction worth one’s time in its own right and in 41 short chapters. She shares thoughts on physical, mental and spiritual wellness from which to drink deeply.

After a brief pause for a few pictures, and a sip of coffee, I’ll continue the relationship theme.

Brief pause for pictures from one of our walks this week

Relationship-building in the media

I read a fascinating essay, “If I Ran a Newspaper,” by Jeff Jarvis, a journalism prof at CUNY (City University of New York, August 9, Medium online). First off, he says, “fat chance.” He goes on to address how theoretically he’d run a newspaper, an important enterprise now facing an instant new world.

I comment on Jarvis’ essay in simplified and incomplete form. He said that old media will be transformed by–their future dependent on–building relationships with their audiences. A bit technical, but good: “The relationship strategy requires learning new skills: listening to communities to discern their needs; empowering teams that cut across our organizations to develop products and services that are more targeted to the needs of those communities and how they use information; building user profiles so we can gather, analyze, and act on data about our people as individuals; and building new revenue from new lines of business, such as events, commerce, and membership.”

I’m afraid I’m doing an injustice to the essay by not fleshing out more of his key points, though the main one is that building meaningful relationships with readers, in print and via the net, is crucial for both the media company and the community.

Jarvis concluded, “There are only two guarantees: that not reinventing ourselves will result in sure death and that we are at the beginning of a long process of reinvention. We don’t know what the internet is yet. We don’t know what journalism can be yet. But here’s a start.”

Scenes that reflect a hometown community of interest

Ready for something new and exciting? 

The cover art is by The Bridgeman Art Library, featuring Mrs. Forbes, mother of artist Stanhope Alexander Forbes (1857-1947). Forbes was a leading figure soon after in 1884 joining the growing colony of artists in Newlyn, Cornwall, UK. Penlee House Gallery & Museum, Penzance, Cornwall,  is one of our favorite galleries to see Newlyn School paintings. The coffee cup painting is by his wife, Elizabeth Adela Forbes, nee Armstrong (1859-1912) who was born in Ontario, Canada. The painting is “School is Out” 1889.

Chittister in her chapter on “Relationships” advised: “In this later stage then, the only uncertainty is whether we will decide to live inside ourselves, alone with our past relationships, or trust that the life made glorious by others in the past can be made glorious again–by new meetings, new moments, new spirit. . . . We need to learn again how to invite people into our lives–in to watch the fame or play cards together, in to eat or read books together. Then, we need to make the effort to go out to places where people our own age gather, as well as to events where the generations mix and the fun comes from meeting new people and talking about different things.”

Robert Browning (1812-1889) gets the last quote, I think of frequently: “Grow old along with me! / The best is yet to be, / The last of life, for which the first was made: / Our times are in His hand / Who saith ‘A whole I planned, / Youth shows but half; / Trust God: see all, not be afraid!'”

Can be done. Blessings as we venture deeper into life’s rewarding relationships.


Friday night shrimp-boil–including peach cobbler–with Mast and Mishler family at our home.

2 thoughts on “Life runs on relationships

  1. I think I will hunt down that book too. Looks interesting. I am seeing a few signs of fall myself and will enjoy one more week before heading into school to prepare for opening day of school after labour day. Just bought peaches and corn at the market this morning. Peach cobbler sounds good. Maybe I will muster the energy to make one too.


  2. Thanks, John. We have enjoyed the new relationships and activities we have found in Terra Siesta, our Senior Park in Ellenton, Florida.

    Monty & Ginger

    My iPad says that a smile always increases your Face Value!



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