Thursday, December 13, 2012

What If Time Doesn't Heal All Things?

That was the question that I was eating, sleeping and breathing as the countdown to my parent's 50th wedding anniversary / family reunion approached.  We have a big family.  Like so many other families (big and small) we have had good, bad and ugly moments... ok, or years. My concern was because I had held on to things.  I had a lot to forgive and a lot to be forgiven.  I hoped that we would all be able to come together for my parents sake and "play nice" for a couple days and then go our separate ways.  In my minds eye that was really the best case scenario I could envision.  I was wrong. 

The McCoy Clan
It turns out that the act of putting all of us under one roof, had a much different outcome than I could have dreamed.  We healed.  We talked, laughed, smiled, trusted and healed.  Out of my parents, all their children and grandchildren, there were only four missing.  My ex-sister in law would not allow my brother's children to attend and I feel so sorry for them.  They missed a beautiful moment in our family history, that I pray lays the groundwork for our future.  We grew up. 

Maybe it wasn't the same for everyone but I will tell you my side of the story.  I am the youngest and so I have an image of my brothers that I carry with me.  What I learned through this weekend was that I had an image based on mental pictures taken over many years... many years ago.  I was forced to ask myself what it would mean for me if they (or anyone) judged me now on who I was when I was seventeen.  For all of you who knew me then... I think you know that image is a bit in contrast to who I am now.  Yet, I will tell you, that is the standard that I have held my brothers to.  I didn't let them grow up in my heart or my mind.  They are men now.  They have grown and changed.  They are amazing.  I love them.  All of them. 

There were members of their families that I was afraid to see.  I was nervous and scared that I would be hurt.  I didn't need to worry.  The old adage is true.  Time really does soften so many things.  I was able to spend time and talk through things with some and just love and encourage others.  It was a time to come together as a family.  It was a chance that all of us took together and the payoff was huge.  We did not just bring our family together for a weekend... we brought our family back together.  There is nothing quite like family.  There is a sacred tie that binds.  Sometimes that tie hurts and wounds people.  There have been times in our family that I have seen that.  However, that tie can also hold us fast in a world that seems to spin faster everyday.  That tie can lift us up when we are too tired and weary to stand on our own.  That tie can increase our faith and give us courage.  I am thankful for my family now, in a way that I have never been.  This Christmas I celebrate the fact that I have been adopted into a family that I was able to choose and I will celebrate anew the family that I was born into.  The family that God chose for me.  I will open what is under the tree with joy but I will do so knowing that I have already received my "big" gift this year.