I was looking for a Dirk Gently (the Holistic Detective series by Douglas Adams) quote this morning. They are such brilliant books - so funny and clever too. Anyway... I found another quote instead that I really love. It's about a chair that is fed up with people!
Here's the quote:
“It is difficult to be sat on all day, every day, by some other creature, without forming an opinion on them.
On the other hand, it is perfectly possible to sit all day, every day, on top of another creature and not have the slightest thought about them whatsoever.”
And I thought... that sums up some relationships. We talk about some people acting like "doormats" or how some selfish types "Walk all over you", but the chair understands that no-one notices you if they sit on you.
It's hard not to end up as a chair... or a doormat. When people you love ask for help, or your boss keeps demanding too much from you, it's easy to fall into the trap of lying back and letting others sit on you. Then you give and they take... and eventually they end up sitting on you so long they forget you're there!
I think some people offer themselves up in love and trust so big they give ALL of themselves. They open their arms wide, just like big comfy chairs. That's not a bad thing short term, it's lovely to have a friend who is "there for you", just like a cosy chair you can curl up in when you are scared or sad.
The problems start when people start to forget that chair people are real people with needs and feelings too... and they sit on them so long, so heavy... that they squash them down into doormats. Doormats end up worn out and thrown away.. replaced by new doormats.
God never expects us to be doormats. He doesn't create anyone to be used by others or to give all of our self away.
So how do loving caring chair people avoid becoming doormats... Maybe by becoming doors instead? Doors open up, but they never change. No-one sits on doors or takes from them. Doors offer comfort by opening up... and showing new ways to go. They offer love, but they don't offer up themselves - they let the people they love move on. They let the people they love see that there is a whole wonderful world of possibilities beyond the doorway. Doors show people possible ways to take, but they don't go with them on their journeys - those journeys are strictly the choices of the people who step through...
Sometimes it's nice to be a comforting chair, but long term it's far better to be a door than a doormat.