Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Tie (02/28/13)
- TITLE: Tripping Over Heart Strings
By Lillian Rhoades
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When I was a little girl, it seemed as if I would never learn to tie my shoes strings, or “laces” as my mother used to call them. Once I learned how to push the strings through each hole, I still had to train my tiny fingers to master the art of tying them tightly enough into a neat little bow so they wouldn’t loosen and cause me to trip. Although I no longer have a problem keeping my shoes strings tied, I still have lessons to learn about heart strings, lessons that I depend of God to teach me.
I have discovered that relationships with my family and friends depend on how tightly our heart strings are tied to each other. Sometimes a forgotten birthday, a misspoken word, or an unsolicited criticism loosens those ties, and I trip over incidentals.
Other times major issues threaten my connection, and I just want to untie the strings and let go. When I’m prone to give in to my feelings, I stop short of doing so when I remember what happened to two of my best friends. Occasionally, I’m haunted by the question as to how these two sisters, now deceased, are getting along in heaven.
Somewhere between their birth and the teen-age years their relationship began to deteriorate. I never knew why they failed to get along, but I suspect parental favoritism. Although they lived in the same house until they reached adulthood, their relationship was as if walking with a high heeled shoe on the left foot and a low heeled shoe on the right. With no emotional connection to each other, everything else was off balance. For a while, they both attended the same church I attended, and all three of us attended the same neighborhood school together. I cared for them both, and tried to remain neutral whenever any discussions that pitted one against the other came up.
For the next forty years, they never spoke to each other. When their mother grew too old to live alone, she went to live with her favorite daughter. I’d hoped that the death of their mother would bring about reconciliation. But “broken-string” relationships are as difficult to restore as the famed Humpty Dumpty.
When their mother passed away, the other sister was never notified. Unfortunately, both sisters passed away without ever reconciling their differences.
Christians are not immune to “broken string” relationships. Although we sing, “blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love,” we know those ties are often loose and certainly not blessed. Very often our relationships resemble sandals with no strings attached that are easily slipped off.
How can we prevent relationships from becoming untied? Perhaps one of the answers is found in something I learned during my early years of lace -tie learning.
One must bend to really get a good grip on the strings and to make sure the strings are tight.
If only my sister-friends could have learned how to bend in submission to each other.
Of all the object lessons that learning to tie my shoe strings afforded me, this is the one most cherished. Whenever my heart strings loosen, and I want to pull away from a relationship, instead of loosening ties, I must bend, sometimes by eating “humble pie” to tighten them.
Other definitions of “bend” is to "bind with a string,” “to knot," “to connect,” and “bond.” As we submit to each other, we are also tightening the heart strings that connect us, tying the knot so that nothing can loosen them, and maintaining of bond of love that can only grow stronger.
There are many reasons for loose heart strings and broken relationships. But, if we’re willing, God is right there and always ready to show us how to tighten them or restore them.
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