When I was in the 5th grade I had this friend we’ll call Stacy, who would randomly ignore me just because she could. It broke my heart every time, mainly because I didn’t understand the reason why someone wouldn’t want to be friends with me when I never meant to annoy or hurt anyone. That, and I was very clearly awesome and so much fun to be around.
Something I realized after about the hundredth time Stacy got a stick up her butt was that the problem lie mainly with her…and the stick up her butt. And I had the ability to make other friends. And that I could make some pretty darn good ones, including one sweet lady that I’m still friends with today. I learned to fall back and let Stacy do her own thing in her own time. I was never mean to her when she ignored me, but I was able to let it go because I was having a blasty blast attending to my actual life where people loved me and needed me. (This also made her mad. I still don’t understand it to this day.)
I had tons of friends and with them I had tons of fun. I also had my family–specifically, my sisters–and even though we fought like rabid wildcats, lemme tell you: we were tight. And that’s the awesome thing about family–no matter what, they always love you.
Other things I know about family from being in my own? They care a whole lot less than you think they do about stuff you thought they’d flip over. And also, they care a whole lot more than you could imagine about your actual health, happiness, and well being.
Family will “be there” when you need them–maybe not with money or fancy cars or vacations–but certainly with ears to listen and arms to hug.
Family messes up. They don’t always get it right the first time or maybe even ever. But they try. And fail, and try again.
Family will also give you the space and freedom you so desperately crave. Even when they don’t agree, even when they can see what’s happening before it happens, even if they’re worried about you–your life is your own, and your family knows it. And they’ll fall back and let you live it. They might cringe because they don’t want to see you get hurt. They might chuckle because your antics are so darn childish that’s it’s sort of hilarious.
But they still love you and wait for that phone call, because family is important.
Some stuff I’ve picked up from watching other families: skip the dramatics. Life is too short to be too serious or too upset or too busy for too long.
Be honest and open and when someone in your family is bothering you, and don’t hesitate to let them know why–because ignoring people is for fifth graders with sticks up their butts.
No seriously–be really, REALLY honest and open. No secrets. No white lies. No grudges. No skeletons in closets…No closets, actually.
You don’t have to prove anything to anyone.
It might take a lot longer than you think for someone else to get over a hurt that you caused.
The people that you love usually have the power to break your heart the worst. And make you cry the hardest.
Sometimes you just need a break from family. And there’s a right way to take that break--and you should take it.
And families will be there when you’re done. They’ll be different, but they’ll be there.
I wish I could always be with my whole family. Caleb would probably sacrifice a limb if he could talk to his mother just once. I know I’d be willing to lose a digit or two if it meant a month of quality time with my folks. (Also I’d like to go back in time and punch myself in the face for acting a certain way towards my own parents/sisters/husband/in-laws/children.)
God allows us a certain amount of time on earth to share Jesus and spread a message of hope. But He also gives us the precious gift of family to lift each other up and to help each other along. I know not everyone gets these experiences but it was my parents that first enabled me to grasp the slightest idea of love. It was my sisters that taught me what friendship and devotion really meant. With Caleb I learned about commitment and forgiveness.
And from my kids? Responsibility. And frustration. And patience. And strength. And pain. And caring. And heartache. And selflessness. And service. And gratitude.
And immeasurable amounts of absolute pure joy that no person, place, thing, or idea will ever take away.
Squeeeee! Two more days until our joy is multiplied.