As part of our exploration of the Big Island, Wilma & I went to see the Boiling Pots. These are a series of ponds that are fed by small streams and waterfalls. They appear to be serene pools, ideal for swimming. On closer examination, however, you’ll notice that while they are constantly being filled their level never changes. Turns out that where they look calmest, there are actually deadly whirlpools underneath constantly sucking water out and into the earth. Several people die in them per year because they foolishly think that they are good enough swimmers to overcome the power of the suction.
Of course, my cheeseball, sermon-illustrator-generating brain went wild with that concept and concocted a whole analogy of human relationships which I will inflict upon you now. The pools represent dysfunctional people, organizations or relationships. They look fine on the outside and some of us think that we’re strong enough to reverse the current of their life patterns on our own. Energy flows into them but the energy is sucked out to the bottomless pit of their need.
Choosing how and when to expend emotional energy is always a balancing act. On the one hand we want to be like Christ and love the people that we encounter and have them encounter some kind of healing. On the other, we are not Christ and have to recognize when we’re in a situation that is beyond our capabilities.