Skipping the Siblings

The other day I was reading my Facebook© news feed and came across an interesting question posted by a friend of a friend.  To paraphrase, the question was:

Has anybody else taken a break from ‘family’? Just stopped going [to your father’s house]?   How long?  What did you do instead?  Would you do it again?

The responses revealed that, in fact, many ‘family members’ have decided to stop getting together with ‘the family’ and actually have no plans on ever returning.  Some people stated that they have no problem with their father, but just cannot handle the hassles of their siblings. It seems that in many ‘families’ brothers and sisters share their opinions, express their preferences, dictate their conversations and play their politics.  Rather than sit next to Dad at the supper table, they are content to sit alone and avoid the abuses of other family members.family

I understand.  My ‘family’ has its quirks. There are times that we can be judgmental, heavy-handed and distant.  We don’t always listen to one another, interrupt each other and often express our opinion without regard for the sensitivities of younger ears.  We are not perfect.  We all, at one time or another, have disobeyed or disappointed our ‘folks’.  We all, at one time or another, blamed our brother or sister for something of which we were guilty.  We all covered our shame by striking out against another at the table.

But we are still ‘family’.  Whether we like it or not, we were born to live together.  We were brought together without our consent but from the first day onward have been nurtured by the one who gave us life.  We were raised to know right from wrong and provided with every need and necessity.  We were loved for who we are and encouraged to utilize our special gifts and abilities.  We were regaled with accounts from our rich family history and reminded to dream about what the future could hold.  Despite its dysfunctions, our ‘family’ is a place of love and peace.  Yet, some of the kids refuse to come ‘home’.

I have no doubt that this breaks the heart of any parent whose children refuse fellowship with the rest of the family.  Perhaps if we went ‘home’ occasionally simply to spend time with our father, to glean from his wisdom and gain from his provision, we could overlook the glaring faults of our siblings sitting beside us.  Perhaps we could, while sitting there, spend time listening to one another; we could offer to bandage one another’s ‘wounds’ and correct one another’s ‘crazy’.  What if we would reflect our parent’s love and act in ways that encourage and edify our brothers and sisters?  Perhaps more would want to come ‘home’.

 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  Hebrews 10:24–25 (NIV)

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One response

  1. Mike — Another wonderful, relevant missive. My mothers’ family was very, very close, until I graduated high school; my dad had no relatives in the USA. After my grandparents died within a year of each other, the family started to disperse, move away. We were still close, as I visited each aunt/uncle in turn. My cousins were s different story. They moved away, married and became loci unto themselves. We stayed in turn but more casually. After 1963 the entire family never met together except for funerals and marriages. My cousins, nieces and nephews live all over the USA, one in CA. My sister and I had a love-hate relationship our entire lives. She was the “preferred” child of my parents, especially my mother. Because we had strong wills, we would often clash and not see or contact each other for 2-3 or more years. Our current relationship remains “close for convenience”, as I would describe it. She lives in Somers, CT with her second husband, and remains staunchly focused and supportive of her four children, two who live in the general area. A son lives in CO, another in Nashua, NH. My sister/husband usually get together once a year, call maybe 3x-4x annually. Getting together with her kids, the two who live in the general area, is dicey as they have their own lives/life styles and schedules. We manage one visit annually. I am the penultimate vestige of my old, original extended family. I maintain a very loose communication with my last aunt living in West Hartford, CT. We were never close. Our relationship was always “formal”. She was my youngest aunt and grandparents’ child. A day together in 2015 with sister/husband, and two of her kids’ families, maybe another 2-3 cousins’ families, is in the planning stages. The major issue is the site, hopefully as central as possible. From our friends, ex-co-workers, associates, et al, the process describes seems very typical now. Friends now often function as surrogate family, it seems, and in many ways, not necessarily a bad thing . . . Have a fine day. Best to Jeanine and family. Frank Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2015 14:01:49 +0000 To: fj10182003pt@hotmail.com

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