Your Bonds of Fellowship
By Dr. Steve
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Best To Receive As Well As To Give
We are each of angels with only one wing.
And we can only fly embracing each other.
-Luciano de Crescenzo
Our fellowshipping is strengthened by
transcending the obstacles we create for others to be our friend.
Kojak, you stay away from me now, ya hear. I told you I
dont want you coming around here, shrinking my head.
Lanis was starting the dance that we went through everytime he
would see me drive up to the house. At the time, I was working at a half-way house for men
who were homeless after being released from prison. Lanis was on my caseload. From the
time we first met, he called me Kojak. When I asked him why, he would just nod his
head, give me one of his conspiratorial smiles and say, Ah come on now Kojak, you
know why I call you that.
Anyway, today was no different than any other day. He would
always be standing around the court yard. He would see me drive up, wait till I got within
twenty-five feet of him, start shouting at me, then walk away. But he never walked away
fast enough so that he would lose me. We always wound up in the same place where we would
then sit and talk for at least an hour.
Today, I especially wanted to talk to him because I had a gift
for him. I had noticed that Lanis had been limping the last few weeks. When I asked him
about it, he would just shrug it off. After a while, I could tell that his left shoe had
developed a huge hole in the sole, so I found him a new pair of shoes to get him through
the impending Chicago winter.
When I gave Lanis the shoes, he spent ten minutes trying to
convince me that he didnt need anything from me.
Kojak, I keep telling you to stay away from me. Now you
go and do this. Whats the matter with you? Why do you keep bothering me like
You think Im bothering you?
Well, yea man. Why do you keep trying to get in my face?
I dont need you or anything you have to offer me!
Lanis, why do you keeping acting like youre so bad
with me all the time? What are you so afraid of?
Hey man, I just dont want you getting too close to
me, is that alright with you, Kojak, or do you have to make a big deal out of that
Im not making a big deal out of anything, but I
just dont get why its so hard for you to accept someones kindness.
Listen Kojak, I cant figure you out, but I know
youve got an angle here, I just cant figure out what angle youre
Is it impossible to believe that the only angle I have
is a concern for you or maybe even having a friendship with you. Have you ever considered
Kojak, dont even go there, dont you try that
stuff with me. I know different. I know that everybody wants something from somebody.
Nobody does something for nothing.
Whats the matter Lanis. You think youll be
obligated to me if you accept my kindness? You think Ill hit up on you for something
just because you accept my concern?
Thats the way of the world, Kojak, dont
pretend its any different. Ill take these damn shoes from you, but dont
you try and sell me on anything different, cause it just aint so.
How many of us recognize the struggle that Lanis experienced
Wanting to have people in our lives, but uncomfortable with
letting anybody in.
Wanting to accept the kindness of somebody else, but not
trusting enough to accept their kindness.
Wanting to feel connected to somebody else, but fearful of the
price for allowing that to happen.
for a moment about the obstacles you construct to keep people from getting close. Do you
recognize how people may come knocking on your door only to be pushed away by you? Take a
moment and think about it. What are some of the scenarios that appear in your life in
which people reach out to you, only to be sidestepped by you?
What experience has taught me is that we all have our reasons
to keep people at arms length. Invariably, there are some fears that we hold about
letting people in, letting people see us up front and personal.
For some, it could be that in the past weve had bad
Perhaps weve let people get close to us and theyve
used what theyve learned about us against us.
Perhaps weve experienced humiliation as a result of
letting somebody get too close.
Perhaps weve been taken advantage of by others. People
continually taking from us without us experiencing any kind of reciprocity in return.
It could be that we feel frail on the inside. And in feeling
so frail, we feel our only option is to keep people at a distance.
Self-worth has a lot to do with this. Do we feel like we
deserve the kindness of others? Do we feel like friendships are something that we are
These are but a few of the reasons that we keep people at a
safe distance, pushing them away, rebuffing their advances.
lets take a moment and see what the truth is for you? What makes it hard for you?
What are the fears that you walk around with as they relate to the way youre in your
Dont lose sight of what were trying to accomplish.
Quite simply, we want to strengthen our connection to the human race. We want to open
ourselves up to being open with people in all aspects of our life. The payoff is enormous,
the price we pay when were disconnected is proportionately high, as well.
The bottom line is that fellowship is a two-way street. If we
dont feel comfortable being a friend to others, its unlikely that well
make it comfortable for others to be a friend to us.
The more discomfort we have with extending ourselves to
others, its likely that others will experience a similar discomfort when they
extend themselves to us.
The key to allowing people into our world is to become more
skilled in entering other peoples world. Ive seen it happen time and time
again. That perhaps is the most important skill a person develops in my Relationship
The more comfortable a person becomes with offering themselves
to another person, the more comfortable they also become in allowing others to be a friend
to them. Its just like I said earlier, if you want people to be in your life, first
master the art of being a friend to them. Thats one side of the coin of
strengthening the bonds of fellowship. The other side is feeling comfortable enough to let
somebody in when they come-a-knocking.
Just like me and
Lanis: remember the choice Lanis created for himself. You can continue to limp through
life by yourself wearing shoes with holes in them or you can extend your hand to someone
when they extend their hand to you!
chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your
children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs
free. Learn how
to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. Recovery book series.