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On the Front Porch: Unfinished business

Do you have parts of your life that you need to get back to work on?
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A work in progress. (Shutterstock)

Usually, I start the year off with a bang and fresh vision but, honestly, I have struggled with that this year.  With one month already past, I have not had any solid direction for my personal life.  Usually, God downloads something in my spirit to aim for in the coming year but I have felt dry and uninspired.  Interestingly, I recently started to work on a book I began writing last fall.  Coincidentally, Sis piqued my interest of a podcast she’d been listening to that reminded her of the book I’d started and suggested I determine to finish that book as part of my vision for this year.  YES!  That struck a chord with me as I pondered the idea.  It led to another thought... unfinished business. 

I have much unfinished business I must attend to.  There are projects I’ve started that need to be completed, such as a couple unfinished quilts, information for tax preparation to be gathered, a few books to finish reading, and some painting I need to complete (I’m embarrassed to admit I started the trim in the bathroom several months ago that hasn’t been finished). I also have a list of projects I’d like to start; however, I need to finish what I’ve started in order to complete the vision I had for last year!  Something new cannot be completed until something has been finished — interesting concept.

We can have unfinished business in our relationships as well. Linda and Charlie Bloom, experts in relationships, suggest that “unfinished business, unresolved issues, emotional baggage, irreconcilable differences (and misunderstandings) ... (are) not good for relationships.” They suggest these relationship issues could be called “incompletions,” stating that something is missing, unfinished or incomplete in the relationship.  The feeling that things are okay between the two parties is missing. The Blooms suggest that “sometimes it’s worth the risk of rocking the boat” to find a sense of completeness that develops a trust and connection once again.

“When an incompletion doesn’t get addressed in an open and timely way, it impairs our ability to experience deep connection, intimacy and empathy in our relationship. ...Like an undisposed bucket of garbage in the kitchen, the longer it sits there, the more foul-smelling it becomes. Many of us, in our efforts to avoid the risk of opening up a potential can of worms, choose instead to build up a tolerance to the smell of decay rather than take out the trash. Developing this tolerance has the effect of diminishing the motivation to clean things up. And the vicious circle remains unbroken.”

It’s sometimes easier to sweep things under the carpet than deal with them but that is really only a temporary solution.  As we become more skilled at sharing our feelings and thoughts back and forth, we can expect a positive outcome in time.  It may take several or many conversations to bring reconciliation to both parties but it is worth the effort.  Avoidance only prolongs the agony of having those tough conversations.  There is a learning curve to this process but anyone can master it if we keep working on it.

I think of Onesimus in the book of Philemon who had stolen from his master and then run away, only to find Jesus on his pilgrimage and then was sent back home by his friend and mentor, Paul, to make things right with Onesimus’ master, Philemon.  The results of fixed relationships are deep connection, intimacy and empathy in our relationships as well as less stress and better sleep.

The shorter our list of unfinished business, the more peace we will have.


The views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Moose Jaw Today, the Moose Jaw Express, its management, or its subsidiaries.

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