I laid in bed wide awake. After a full day of activity, sleep wouldn’t come. The insomnia played behind the curtain of my conscious mind and refused to reveal her identity. Her irritating presence was enough to keep me awake, but her mysterious nature left me confused.

It’s crummy when I can’t get to sleep.

Instead of having a snack or picking up a book, I decided to listen to some inspirational teachings. She spoke about how we can’t always figure out the next thing to do in our lives. We need friends to give us different perspectives and help guide us.

As I laid on the couch wearing ear buds instead of laying fast asleep on my pillow, the speaker talked about the normal wrangling’s of life. None of us has all the same experiences and perceptions so it’s normal we disagree with others. Of course, we’ll see things differently. It’s normal. Good relationships are about understanding one on another, forgiving each other for our failings, and not judging others as wrong.

And the final ingredients of a good relationship? Love, love, and love.

Earlier in the day, a friend and I had an argument simply because we each saw a situation differently. This was the irritation keeping me awake. Did this mean we didn’t have a good relationship?

What was I learning?

A. We need other people to expand our perspective.

B. We won’t always agree with each other. That’s normal.

These two separate thoughts joined hands in a perfect dance. This process suddenly made complete sense.

The relationship with my friend was not one sided. As we bumped up against one another with both our frailties and differences, we didn’t agree. But I need her perspective, even if I disagree with it, to expand my own. The discussion we had was normal and could serve to strengthen the fabric of our relationship.

But when I fail to understand her or believe my perception is the only legitimate one, the fabric of our relationship is ripped apart (and I lie awake in bed). When I work to understand her, I mend the relationship, making it stronger.

This ‘work’ is actually love.

All of humanity is like a huge piece of fabric. We push and pull, trying to make sense of things. Our fears, disagreements, and expectations cause tears in the fabric of this common textile.

We can’t keep warm or protected by a comforter with gaping holes.

But as we understand each other’s perspectives, forgive each other’s past transgressions, and view each other without judgement, we’re able to tighten the weave of the fabric. As we lock arms in our agreement and set our disagreements aside, we become a strong force for love.

If we stand alone, or only with those who agree with us, we’ll be limited to that understanding.

But ours is not the only way. None of us can see the whole picture.

Let’s see our inevitable conflicts with each other as the potential to strengthen our relationships. Together, we can build a strong blanket which will protect our lives.

This is the fabric of love.