I believe in family. With all of my heart. I believe that it is a training ground for life, where we learn how to live, to love, and to fly. But I also realize that family is an imperfect institution. I am convinced that every family has issues, even the ones that we watch and wonder how they maintain perfection. Because I guarantee they are not perfect; nobody is.
We are all a little crazy. We are all a little (or a lot) dysfunctional. We all have things that we want to hide from the world because they don’t fit into the image that we want to portray – the one that says we have it all together.
We all have things that we wish we could change, words we wish we could take back, hurt that we want to erase. But we cannot change the past. What’s done is done, and all we can do is learn from it. Hopefully, we do.
We do, however, have some control over the future.
We can control the words that we speak so we don’t have to look back and wish we could erase them.
We can control the way that we treat our family members.
We can choose to leave the past in the past, forgive when necessary, and give others the benefit of the doubt rather than assuming negative intent.
We can choose not to be offended and not to harbor grudges over things that we cannot change.
We can be humble enough to accept our shortcomings and realize that we may not always be right.
We can come to grips with the idea that the opinions of others, though different from our own, have merit, and that differences do not need to divide families. They can be a blessing.
We can stop competing, realizing that each family member is unique, and comparison is a slippery slope to hard feelings. My job is not better than your job, your kids are not better than my kids, and it does not matter who makes more money. We are just different. Gloriously different. But still so much the same.
So much the same.
I realize that we cannot choose our families like we choose our friends. Sometimes personalities clash. Often, we don’t see eye to eye. There are things to work through – some that we can change, and others that we must simply come to accept.
Family life is not always easy, but it can teach us much if we allow it to do so. What better way to learn how to love and forgive, how to accept change and differences, how to overcome challenges and do hard things?
As a wise man once said:
“If you treated your friends like you treat your family, would you have any friends?”
If not, do something about it. Don’t continue to live with regrets, with grudges and hurts feelings in the forefront of your mind.
Let it go and move on.
The best is yet to be.