He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, May 30, 2016

Feeling Completed

       I was talking with my cousin this week as we shared information about our specific families and our extended families, since we hadn’t seen each other in a very long time. Given the different stories we shared, we agreed all families have issues, it doesn’t matter how great they look from the outside.  

       Everyone has problems that need to be solved.  It’s the nature of our world.  Sometimes the issues are created from circumstances beyond our control, other times, problems are created from bad decisions made.

            A friend of mine, who seems to have the “perfect” family shared that while she is blessed with three wonderful children, five grandchildren and a wonderful extended family through her in-laws, she still grieves from time to time.  Her oldest child has a mental illness.  This disease has caused him to make some remarkably bad decisions causing distress for himself, his parents and even occasionally, his siblings. 

            She said, “Just because a person wears a smile on their face, is pleasant and agreeable, doesn’t mean their world is perfect and without heartache.  There are times during the year when our family comes together and Jake isn’t here.  It’s times like this when I just don’t feel complete.”

            Family gatherings for most of us are fun and pleasant.  There are picnics and theme park gatherings, roller skating, baseball games, weddings and any variety of occasions.  Even when things seem right, however, sometimes judgments are made about others and even family members.  Occasionally the judgments are inaccurate, or regrets are shared due to circumstances others were inadvertently involved in.

            The point is, as families and Believers in God, none is exempt from heartache.  It comes in a variety of ways.  Today is Memorial Day and there is loss across the nation felt in many homes from those lost in battle. This causes a unique heartache and pain.  But it might also be, mental illness like my friend, or bad choices which are unlawful, or some other kind of malady that causes pain.  

         It doesn’t matter, what the circumstances, we are still family.  It takes each person within the family unit to complete the circle.  When part of the family is missing for any reason, there is an emptiness; a void that cannot be filled in any way, even when there is a unified effort to pretend all is “well with the world!” 

            As parents we can try to ignore the sadness; act like it doesn’t matter, but we know it does.  It grieves our heart when there is any kind of separation.  All we really want is to gather our loved ones to us once again, make everything bad that’s happened go away and live like we did when our children were small when a kiss and hug would make everything alright again. 

            So I challenge you to take stock of your family; of your personal situation.  Are there conditions you can change that would right a relationship?  Is prayer and forgiveness necessary or needed?  Is there reason to accept an illness or other circumstance beyond your control that would ease tension for yourself and others within your family network?  Our lives are challenging at best and are happier when our hearts are not broken or otherwise grieved.  What can you do to better a relationship this next week?