“One Secret of Successful Relationships”

“One Secret of Successful Relationships”

I was raised on ROCKY movies.  There was something almost magical about the “Italian Stallion” that made our father (and all 12 of us kiddos) want to watch those movies over and over.  Perhaps no other song from the series comes to mind more than the “Eye of the Tiger.”  

In Rocky III, the famous boxer, Rocky Balboa, realizes he has exchanged “passion for glory” and has lost “his edge” in the ring.  He is faced with a fierce competitor, “Clubber Lang” (aka Mr. T) who is ready to take full advantage of Rocky’s blind spot. You see…Rocky had not become heavy weight champion of the world by himself. It was built on constant support from his beloved trainer, wife, friends and die-hard fans.  However, somewhere along the road of fame and fortune, Rocky began to forget all those who surrounded and supported him each and every day; he forgot what they had taught him…he forgot the impact they made in his life.  

As you can only imagine, Rocky began to realize the dangers of walking this journey of life alone.  Was he going to be vulnerable and express that he needed others or try and “tough it out”? 

Just one week ago, I watched my daughter, Jacoby, give a video presentation of “thanks” to all her supporters.  She wanted all those who came to her 4th Annual “RUN FOR MILES” to understand that she not only APPRECIATES them…but that she also RELIES on their support to enjoy and get through “life”.  Jacoby displayed an attribute that took me years to learn. This painfully, wonderful, 6- syllable word that I’m talking about is vulnerability.  

The Secret

Vulnerability in its simplest definition means “unprotected…weakened…exposed.” In relationships, it would mean to “let your guard down” and let people see you as you truly are…weaknesses and strengths alike.  Generally, it’s not too hard to let people in on our “strengths”, but weaknesses, hurts and deepest desires …quite another story.  

I have always struggled with letting others help me when I could really use it. I will be DYING, treading water, head UNDER the water, and yet still feel bad to say I could really use help.  Perhaps I’m afraid people will think I’m incompetent…disorganized…and crazy. Or that “true strength” is to do everything on my own.  SERIOUSLY…WHO ARE WE KIDDING? 

My Confession

Without a doubt, some of you have the exact same struggle as I do. I constantly have to remind myself that we all find some purpose and meaning by lending a helping hand.  And as crazy as this seems, it will be in the struggle that your relationship with others will develop and become more meaningful. 

For example, the month of October was brutal for our family. I basically “disappeared” off social media just to survive.  The deep, chest cold taking over Pierce County settled in at the Miles’ residency.  (You know …the type of cold that feels like you may need someone to administer the Heimlich maneuver on you JUST to get the cough out.) Yes…that cough. 

But, here’s where it gets tricky.  There is nothing SIMPLE about a quadriplegic getting a cold.  Because their breathing has been compromised, coughing becomes a procedure they can’t do alone.   If someone is not there to help press in on their abdominal muscles, they will choke trying to get the cough out.  So you can only imagine how our days, much less our nights looked when Jacoby was fighting the cold.  It was a LONG month; thank the Lord for coffee and Swedish Fish!

Trust me, I know it’s hard learning to let others help.  Since Jacoby started college, I have people preparing meals, driving kiddos to practices, and making Costco trips.  Life is more meaningful when we do “life” together. Period. 

“Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence.  We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, the better for all of us.”–Erik Erikson

Wrap up

Now if any of you are still “sitting on the edge of your seats” wondering whether ROCKY, the boxer, ever got his “edge” back…let me put you out of your misery. 

Rocky’s former competitor and friend, Apollo Creed, came along side of him to “save the day”! Apollo reminded Rocky that life is hard, but he could help him…he could train him back to victory. Rocky accepted Apollo’s offer of friendship and service. His willingness to be vulnerable and ACCEPT the help, made all the difference.  

Does this sound familiar to you? Have you “bought” into the crazy idea that you shouldn’t have to ask anyone for help? If so, PLEASE remember…

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable.  To make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”–Criss Fami

Carpe Diem, my precious friends!

1 Comment

  • Patricia Rickabaugh
    April 24, 2017 9:48 am

    Gretchen, I know of that nasty cough that hit Pierce county and so thankful to hear Jacoby and you all made it through!! One day soon I would like to visit you guys. I will keep in touch! Love and hugs to you all!!!

Leave a Reply