Communication, Conflict, Love


One of my summer pleasures is slipping outside early in the morning while the air is cool to water the plants on my porch and deck. Terry rigged up collapsible hoses that coil easily into pots in both locations to make the process more convenient.

The front porch pot is smaller
than the one in the back.

Although it doesn’t take long, this quiet ritual often sets the tone for the day. I learned early on that if I don’t pull the hose out of its container before turning on the water, it will puff up, making removal difficult.

But sometimes I get in a hurry, and I don’t realize the entire hose isn’t free until I’m halfway across the porch and it pulls me up short of the next flowerpot. 

I generally give it a gentle shake to coax it to untangle, then I tug again. Sometimes that works. However, more often than not, I have to retrace my steps and free the hose by hand. 

You could say it tests my patience. 

I’ve been known to tug harder and berate that little black conduit before giving in to the inconvenience and going back. 

In most cases continuing to yank makes the situation worse by tightening the crisscrossed loops into stubborn knots. 


As I freed the bulging hose today, I thought about how troubled relationships only get worse when we attempt to deal with them from a distance.

These days, email seems the communication of choice—even though everyone knows it’s fraught with the danger of misunderstanding. 

So why do we do it instead of picking up the phone and calling—or better yet, sitting down, talking face-to-face and really listening with our hearts?
I TOLD you
I am NOT mad.

I suppose sometimes we simply don’t care enough. Or perhaps we dread what we may hear about our behavior. 

I’m not referring to toxic personalities and situations we all need to avoid.

Today I’m thinking more in terms of the times we get offended or hurt by a friend or family member. But instead of picking of the phone and setting things right, we engage in the fine art of passive aggression. 

We may shoot off an angry email full of CAPS to send them on a Guilt Trip. Or we may simply resort to the Silent Treatment.

Granted, sometimes, we need a cooling off period, but there’s danger in allowing it to go on too long.

We all have our weaknesses. You may already recognize yours and someone else’s way of handling conflict, especially if you’re close to them. 

I used to tease one of my grandsons out of pouting by calling him the Incredible Sulk. If I gently persisted, pretty soon, I’d see one corner of his mouth quirk up. He just couldn’t help it and soon we’d be giggling. 


It’s difficult to admit, but there are times we just don’t want to say we are 


I hate being wrong. Don’t you? But everyone’s at fault occasionally. In fact, I suspect in most misunderstandings, both people bear some responsibility. 

Let’s give each other grace.
If communication has broken down, someone has to take the first step. 

As a Christian, I know I’m called to forgive, turn the other cheek, seek reconciliation. (I hate to tell you this, but the scripture doesn’t say one word about using email instead of talking to the other person face-to-face.)
Because I seem to need to talk things out, I’m likely to pursue a conversation as long as I feel safe. But I already know I shouldn’t be spending time with anyone I don’t feel safe around.

I may start with a note, then follow up with a phone call. And I just might show up on their doorstep if they don’t respond. 

If you ever find me standing at your door, it’s because I love you. I hope you’ll greet me in the same spirit. 

Even when we’re at odds, we can’t fail if we put on the love of God.

Is there someone you need to write or call? 

Please don’t wait.

Love is patient, 
love is kind. 
It does not envy, 
it does not boast, 
it is not proud. 
5 It does not dishonor others, 
it is not self-seeking, 
it is not easily angered,
 it keeps no record of wrongs. 
6 Love does not delight in evil 
but rejoices with the truth. 
7 It always protects, 
always trusts, 
always hopes, 
always perseveres. 
8 Love never fails. 
I Cor. 13:4-8

Copyright © Reflections from Dorothy’s Ridge 2016. All rights reserved

8 thoughts on “UNTANGLING TROUBLE”

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