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Some common threads

In to the Wind

September 13, 2011
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

The nature of being a columnist allows certain latitude in what is written in this space. Sometimes it is not sufficient to merely entertain. Once in a while I think it appropriate to explain some of the thought processes which happen in this somewhat empty space between my ears.

I have been thinking some about relationships, and what makes them what they are. Here is my view of how relationships are maintained. At least I find comfort in this view. Tell me what you think.

There exist threads or filaments which connect and define each human relationship unless of course certain energies flow only one direction, there is balance. If this energy only flows one way, either because the other is unable or unwilling to contribute energy back, the balance is broken. Either the relationship fails, or the one giving the energy sustains the connection at their own peril.

These connections are tenuous and fine. Some are based on singular emotions or needs; a single filament. Others are based on several emotions or needs and instead of a single filament, are comprised of a bundle of strands.

These bundles define a vibrant relationship and carry the appropriate energies along each filament in a give and take sort of fashion a relationship builds, more and more of these filaments are lighted.

I think it is helpful here to give an example of how a relationship might develop.

Imagine you have a daily routine. It might be a regular transit to your job, or some other place. Now imagine you encounter a certain person, another being, who for some reason catches your eye. Now imagine that every time you go through your routine you see that person again. You haven’t spoken, only seen. Both of you smile at each other and nod your heads in recognition.

The first filament of a relationship has been established; the thread of familiarity and recognition. The relationship might not progress beyond this single thread. We allow many such filaments in our lives. These threads of familiarity often bring us a certain peace of mind in our daily toils.

Now imagine that one day the stranger takes the initiative and engages you in conversation. It might be as simple as a “good morning,” or “nice day.” You in turn speak to them. A communication thread is then allowed which connects the two of you. Where once there was one, now there are two; recognition and communication.

Let you imagination take this a little deeper. Visualize you leave a couple minutes early one morning. Your thought is to engage the stranger just a little deeper in conversation. The day before you noticed they appeared a little more tanned than usual.

This morning you ask them what they have been doing, and why they look so tanned. Their answer delights you; they went on a long bicycle ride over the weekend. You tell them you too are a bicyclist, and you both smile that smile of deeper recognition.

Another thread has been established; the thread of commonality. You have found you both enjoy doing the same thing. Now visualize your day just seems somehow brighter and happier. It is in fact! Because now three strands have been lighted with the stranger, your world is indeed a little brighter, more vibrant.

This is the dynamic of how relationships are formed. Where once this person never even entered your thought processes, they have become a part of whom and what you are. It is easy now to take the imagination even farther and envision this particular relationship growing even more. Perhaps you discover you went to the same school, or share yet more passions and pastimes. I think you get the idea.

I find a certain delight in the belief every relationship is comprised of single filaments which each carry a certain emotion or ideal.

So, relationships can be simple and frivolous, or deep and complex. Few strands are lighted in casual relationships, many in those more complex.

The hallmark of a vibrant and lasting relationship is one where many emotions, many passions, many desires are shared in kind. Unfortunately that perfection is seldom realized absolutely, so certain compromises are made to allow as many of these strands as possible to be lighted. Once two realize and refine, certain other strands can be lighted and the relationship grown.

I believe these relationship threads exist not only between other humans, but between us and many things. You might appreciate the beauty and fragrance of a champion rose, for instance.

Simple threads of love, desire, recognition, familiarity and comfort might ensue and be lighted.

I do believe there are threads which have been lighted between me and my pets too. They look to me for food, water and shelter. When they look at me, it is with love and a certain wanting. Like any living thing, first and foremost they seek love.

The strand of love which connects two is the hardiest filament. If it is a strong love it is lighted and pulses with passion. Just like in human relationships, those threads with our pets must be two way connections or we won’t bother.

We love our pets because they love us back. Our pets give us attention because they crave the attention we give them.

Very simply dear reader, love is the light of the soul reaching out for others. If that thread is lighted, a connection is made. Let love be your beacon, and foster those connections with careful determination!

Until next time—

You can read past columns by visiting and clicking on the “Local Columns” button at the bottom of the page.

In to the Wind and this column are copyright 2011 Mike Gilchrist. Readers, feel free to contact me at via email, or write to me at P.O. Box 255, Toledo, IA 52342

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