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For Instance, Part One
by Michael Blackston
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The Flow
Michael Blackston
For Instance, Part 1

It was a truly amazing thing to watch the Flow in action once I got my mind around the fact that it existed. When I had totally committed to concentrating on its direction in every situation, it became so much easier to stop and think before I reacted. I wasn’t very long in to writing this book when I had my first real test. Not that there hadn’t been many opportunities between the time I discovered the Flow and then to direct it on the right course, but this was a biggie – an opportunity for me to do one of three things; blast back, turn tail and run, or direct my Flow in a positive and loving way that would be pleasing to God.

I love this person. She remains a valuable member of the history and formation of my life as it is today. This person was monumental in shaping my career and to this day, I offer her my deepest gratitude and praise for the impact she had on me. This is also a fellow Christian, a regular church attendee who loves the Lord. But this person is a highly emotional character and is prone to lashing out when she her feelings are hurt, only later to feel regret and sorrow over her reaction.

She was instrumental in my training as a professional artist. I worked alongside her for several years, learning and growing in knowledge. A friendship was created in that studio among all of the artists, each of whom had a different personality and a different way of handling things. For all our differences, we were a family and thought of each other in that way.

I had to leave. As God burdened me to take the knowledge I had learned and strike out on my own as a business owner, I had to say goodbye to my work family and I have to say it was a sad moment. There were very few tears, at least as far as I know, and they were all on my part. But I would miss them and they would miss me. I was asked to promise to come back often and not be a stranger as so many other artists had who left to find other adventures. One artist in particular felt betrayed by my departure, as if she had invested too much of her time with me for it to end like this. And to a degree, I saw her point. But I had to go with God and when He speaks, I listen. So I hugged her, told her what she meant to me and left with the promise to return from time to time as asked.
It was as peaceful as I could have hoped for, more-so actually, and I left the studio with my box of items and a whole lot of great memories.

Fast forward about three months and I was getting very comfortable in my new position as an entrepreneur. I had indeed returned to my old studio to say hello to my friends and catch up. I had attended the wedding service of one of the artists and sat directly behind the friend who felt betrayed. At the service, Kayla and I talked with her and shared a few good moments. When the service ended, we had an appointment and had to leave, so that was the end of that.

About three weeks later, I journeyed into the studio during a lunch break. I was working at a business just down the road on a huge piece of art that was nearly as tall as I am. I decided that it was time to visit the old studio and see my friends. Later, I was told that I should have come a half-hour earlier. When I arrived and had spoken to one good friend who was working just outside the main studio area where all the other artists were, I went in to see my friends. The betrayed friend was on the phone at the time and so I went to others, asking about their Christmas and their families. As I spoke, I overheard my friend on the phone spouting angrily about artists who come and then leave in betrayal and how she’s just done with them. The friend I was currently talking to gave me a nervous look that said she was sorry I walked in on that, and I put up a palm to show her no harm done.

When the phone conversation was over, I suddenly found myself on the receiving end of a small blast of anger. Without going into details, I was confronted in front of my peers about my leaving and how what I was doing now was a betrayal. “It just doesn’t sit well with me,” my friend stated. I told her I was sorry and she replied she was sorry too, but her tone was not an apology, but an indication that she was sorry she’d ever had anything to do with me.

Here was the opportunity this entire story is about. What was I to do? I had to make up my mind fast and move into the next phase of the conversation. Would I engage in a heated debate or argument, would I simply leave without a word, insulted or would I direct my Flow in a peaceful, loving and understanding way that would be pleasing to God? The great thing about realizing there is a Flow in your life is that once you’re perpetually aware of it and what you’re supposed to do with it, the rest is relatively easy. Of course I chose God’s pleasure and so I simply said nothing. I went to another friend and asked how he is doing, then another until I had made my rounds. Naturally, the mood was tense. No one knew what to say and everyone was a bit embarrassed. But as I left, I passed by her table and I touched it. I softly told her goodbye and she returned it and I walked out. After I stopped in the office to speak to the angel of the entire business, the secretary who was loved dearly by everyone there and hugged her neck, I walked out the front door in prayer.

“ThankYou, Lord, for Your wisdom in that situation back there. Thanks for helping me to recognize the opportunity to face adversity in love instead of anger that would have compounded and just made it worse. Help my friend to find peace in my leaving and forgive her for her anger. Grant her Your wisdom and mercy. Amen.”

I was later told by a worker who I stay in touch with on a weekly, sometimes daily basis, that after I left, the angry friend lamented her actions and commented that she had probably caused me to never come back again. She’s wrong. Although I will, wisely I think, wait a little bit and let it cool off. I will return because I have God on my side and I have his grace and wisdom. I’ll love on her with a smile as I always have and the incident will be forgotten and never mentioned. It’s what God would want. And as much as my old self would have wanted to blast her down and explain things to her, “business is business” and all that, I didn’t want to do that. The decision to not react was made cheerfully and not through gritted teeth as it once would have been.

That’s one of the benefits of taking control of your Flow. When we’re in control, we tend to be happier about the decisions we make. It’s no longer a matter of muttering through the right decision begrudgingly. We want to do the right thing. We want to please God.

And that’s a move in the right direction.

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