I spoke twice this week about my heritage and my family. I am also enjoying a great visit from my sister with her husband and daughter. These two experiences have caused me to reflect on the many ways that my family has formed my identity.
My family was not and is not perfect. There are difficult aspects of the past that left emotional and relational scars, over-compensating behaviors, and “hot buttons” that ignite in some expected and some not-so-expected circumstances. Thankfully, I have learned to remember the positive and character building moments… and to leave the negative and hurtful memories behind. I am so grateful for faith, friends, an awesome husband, and a few great counselors, who have helped me to move forward, acknowledging the past’s influence but freeing me from its potential limitations on my future.
These days I am gaining a greater appreciation for my sisters and my brother as we enter the new stage of caring for our elderly parents. It is not an easy time for us; we have to work very hard at integrating many different viewpoints, opinions, geographical availability, ideas, and personalities into choices and decisions. Although we are older, childhood attitudes and reactions resurface. My siblings are teaching me new ways to love and yield my own interests – this is good growth for me.
The real challenges faced in my marriage and in raising my (amazing!) children have helped to keep me humble and honest about my inadequacies, my insufficiency… and have engraved on my heart the incredibly powerful truth and grace that we received over the years. I am very grateful for the authentic and loving relationships that we have because of how we have worked through difficulties and pain together. I did not anticipate or enjoy the struggles – if I could have, I would have chosen to avoid them – but I am eternally thankful for the redeeming hope that we have experienced. I look forward to whatever the future might hold for us.
I’ve heard that sites like Facebook can cause depression when people compare their real lives with the unrealistic “perfect” lives that we assume from superficial statuses and photographs. I know, from experience, that everyone has a real story behind the smiles; the real story is full of tears and hurt… and forgiveness and reconciliation… and healing and hope. Real is rich.
What do you appreciate about your family?
How are you handling “real” life together?