This is my family. Being a wife and a mom, a part of this tribe defines the best years of my life. We all shared a home and a life under the same roof for a few decades. These beautiful years are the best years of my life, my purpose, and my God-given work. I would not trade a day.
One by one, each of my kids has gone off to find their place in this big beautiful world to find their way. We leave our roots and if we are the lucky ones we stay connected. Now our relationships are built on choice.
I just had a rare lunch with my own original family minus my dad who lives in heaven. My sister, brother, mom, and I sat at the table talking about nothing, talking about everything. We all have our own busy lives and my brother and his family live states away. And yet, we all chose to come to the table.
It all sounds so simple but there is an invisible force that is always working to tear apart our relationships. It is often subtle and the little things that begin to put a wedge between honest intimate relationships. Political opinions and religious denominational beliefs that go beyond truth can be the biggest weapons formed against brother and sister, husband and wife, child and parent.
My brother used a great term, sanctified speculation, that speaks to scripture that can have more than one interpretation of meaning. Phrasing our beliefs in terms that allow for productive discussion instead of division is an art and can bring us closer and more willing for the younger and less confident ones to speak. Having a place to honestly share and receive builds intimacy.
The hard-set mind on being “right” is a recipe for broken relationships. If I could go back to the dinner table when my older kids were finding their way, I would not have responded in the same manner. Listening to another’s opinion is not agreeing. Listening is validating the person and if I value a person I will listen before I respond. Tasting our response before speaking our response will go a long way.
I started to catch on when my oldest was at University and I realized that in his good-natured way he was enjoying pushing my buttons. I learned to listen and ask clarifying questions that did not have the tone of an inquisition. As he was growing and learning, he did not need my two cents to tell him ‘the way it is.’ And, just maybe I needed to reconsider a lot of my points of view.
After having lunch with my siblings and mom, I felt like I drank in a moment of grace, a moment of redo. When we parted ways, I realized that choosing to love my original family is a decision I will never regret. We can be as different as the moon and the sun, but we are connected.
I hope I have set the tone for my own to feel safe and loved as they return to our table. It is never too late to start fresh. I am grateful. Family is a gift. Rebuilding a broken legacy is a choice. I’m up for the challenge to fall forward in His grace and love.
“Look at how good and pleasing it is when families live together as one.” Psalm 133:1