When the Ice Melts
By: Tom Norvell

Vol. 17 No. 08 | February 23, 2015

Like many around the country the winter weather of the past week has either forced us to be confined to our home (Oh, don’t you just hate it when that happens!), off the streets and roads, or at the very least to alter our regular schedule of activity. (That’s for you folks up to the north who cannot understand how an inch or two of ice and/or snow can create such chaos.) We have sat by the fire, watching movies, listening to music, worked (or played) on our computers and mobile devices, and been amazed at how many times the weather forecasters can remind you that we have a “Winter Weather Alert in effect for your area.”

I have been reminded of stories of the good old days when “if we wanted entertainment we’d go downtown and watch the traffic light change.” This week part of our entertainment has been to look out our windows and doors, marvel at the beauty of the sun’s reflection on the snow and ice, check the current temperature, comment on how long the icicles have gotten, and wonder when the ice will melt. Well, slowly but surely it is melting (although as I write there are predictions of more on the way for this afternoon and tonight).

One of the things that happens when the ice melts is that we start moving again. We move slowly at first to make sure we have solid ground upon which to stand, walk, or drive. Once we are convinced it is safe we begin to move more freely and with greater confidence.

The same happens with relationships.

A relationship begins with a simple, “Hello, my name is Tom.” The other person responds in like manner and the usual chit-chat begins that includes where you are from, where you work, your family status, and maybe a few other significant facts about yourself. The ice has been broken. Then, there’s that long awkward space in time where you and/or the person is deciding if the relationship will go any further, or if it will end having shared those few basic facts.

Sometimes, not always, the broken ice begins to melt and conversation continues. You are interested in this person. You feel comfortable with the person and see potential in pursuing a relationship, so you continue the conversation. The ice melts and a relationship is born.

Once the relationship is born, assuming that the relationship is nurtured and given space to develop, it will grow and mature as one would expect. This is a wonderful season for relationships. Rich times of enjoyment are common. Memories are made as the life-long relationship continues to thrive. The relationship, though solid and enjoyable, is still fragile.

One day something happens. The ice that had melted refreezes. You experience hurt feelings, betrayal, struggles with life, or distractions. The closeness begins to separate and the relationship becomes distant and disconnected. The ice hardens.

“I want the ice to melt again!” you cry.

Start with an acknowledgement that something has happened, something has changed, the warmth has been replaced with coldness. Sometimes simply the honesty of acknowledgement can begin the melting process.

Deal with the problem. Try not to blame or criticize or judge or assume. Attack the problem; not the person. Do whatever it takes to thaw the ice. Long hours of conversation, prayer, listening and understanding.

Apply forgiveness as needed. Request it. Offer it. All the power of forgiveness to do what nothing else can do: provide the atmosphere where healing can take place. Without forgiveness the ice will never melt.

The temperatures have risen above the freezing mark today. Rain is falling. The ice and snow are slowly melting. Before long movement will take place and life will get back to normal. (Whatever that is.) There is hope that warmer weather and the flowers of spring are not far away.

May your relationships this week be filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control!


© Copyright 2015 Tom Norvell. All rights reserved.