As I write this blog post a few responses are starting to trickle in from my May 17th entry, “I Need Help.”  I’ll be sharing some of them in the coming weeks. If you missed that post, you can click here to read it. It’s not too late to offer your feedback.

In the meantime, here are some relational observations I’ve stumbled upon, some full of joy, one of sadness, and one relational observation that made me laugh out loud.

From the “nextdoor” app

I have a love/hate relationship with the “next-door” app. It’s a nationwide app where anyone can answer, “What’s on your mind, neighbor?” Responses are segregated by the neighborhood in which you live. Here people will ask for recommendations for handymen, the best place to get your dog groomed, etc. I found a high school student to do fall clean-up in our yard last November, and I found another one recently to mow our lawn when I’m out of town.

But it also has a large number of posts like, 

What was that loud noise I heard at 10:30 last night near 124th and Cleveland? 

I think I saw a coyote in our backyard about 5 am today, has anyone else seen one?  

And always lost pets, “My kitty, Mr. Snuggles, got out the door a few days ago and hasn’t been back. Please message me if you see him. Reward. 

I wonder if the coyote found Mr. Snuggles and if so, would it get the reward?

Questions and posts like this cause me to delete the app. But then later I’ll reinstall it because occasionally I come across relational observations on it like the following:

Flowers needed

Does anyone have lilacs that I could have to make a small bouquet for a 93-year-old lady dying in a nursing home for Mother’s Day?

Later that day, the same person who asked for the flowers wrote,

The sweetest, nicest man (God bless him) just delivered some lilacs to me.   Thank you so much for your kindness!   My mother-in-law will love them.  Lilacs are her favorite flower and we don't know how long she will be with us.

A relational observation about hospitality

I don’t remember where I came across the following, but it impressed me enough to add it to my collection of favorite relationship quotes.

The heart of hospitality is this: when people leave your home they should feel better about themselves not better about you.”   

~ Shauna Niequist

The Lonely People Facebook Group

In looking into the subject of loneliness and I stumbled upon the Lonely People Facebook group. There are 2,900 members so far and growing. In scrolling through the feed I noticed many posts from widows, baby boomers, millennials, and surprisingly, mostly men.  Here are posts from 6 different people

Always lonely. Looking for friends to talk to always.

Incredibly lonely today.

Hello all! Anybody from Indiana? I am up late most nights so if you just want to talk because you're feeling down that is okay.

Hello everyone. I am here because I am looking to make some friends…yes, really! Friends! 

All I have been able to find out in the world of social media are scammers and offers from sugar daddies (I did not realize that being a sugar baby was an actual thing!). I have been married to a wonderful man for 20 years but we are not very social and, as such, I have never made any friends as an adult. 

I really need someone to talk to.

From Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling

In  Sarah Young’s daily devotional book, she makes relational observations all the time about our relationship with Jesus, and with each other. She writes in the first person as if Jesus is talking directly to the reader. Here’s an example from May 15th. It reminded me of how brief encounters with joyful strangers brighten my day. It prompted me to see how I can have the same effect on people when I am joyful.

Being joyful blesses not only you but the people around you. Your joy will rub off on your family and friends. You can also bless people who aren’t as close to you. Even people who don’t know Me will want to know why you’re so happy and at peace. And that will give you a chance to tell them about Me.    

What about you?

What relational observations have you made recently? I’d love to hear about them. Leave them in the comment box below, or send them to me in an email.

I’ll close with one more relational observation I think you’ll enjoy.

From The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal ran an article early this month entitled, “Why Did the Umpire Quit Little League?  Nasty Parents.” It was about how angry, vocal parents criticizing umpires and referees were making it difficult to recruit officials for these largely volunteer positions. It was an interesting article. What was even more interesting was a letter to the editor of the Journal who wrote,

“As a former Little League umpire, I would consider returning to the job only if I were assured that both teams came from an orphanage.”  ~ Paul McCarthy, Surfside Beach, S.C

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May all your relational observations fill you with joy,

John Certalic

P.S. Click here If you missed last week's blog post. It's the one about the quote from Nelson Mandela and how it relates to relationships

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