The family dynamic a curious construct. Few relationships in our life polarize us as much as our families do. Within our families, we can experience the comfort of love and acceptance like nowhere else. Within our families, we can feel the sorrow of betrayal and misunderstanding more intensely than anywhere else.
Home is where you hang your hat, and fill your heart. Or sometimes break it.
Home is where we spend most of our time together. We eat, and we clean, at times arguing over who does more of the eating or less of the cleaning. We play games, share germs, and stay up late watching nonsense on the telly. We hold each other, and holler at one another. We break bread, and we bicker. Together. In the trenches.
For vacations and holidays, we leave home with our family, filled with excitement or anxiety. sharing the miles sight-seeing, shopping, spending and squabbling; fighting and forgiving as we forge ahead.
Our families imprint upon us much of who we are, and who we will be. Our families give us a place to belong, and a place to flee from. Within our families, we often are at our best. Or most authentic. The Real McCoy. Nowhere else are we called to love more deeply, trust more completely, and forgive more repeatedly.
Within our families, we are also at out worst. Those who deserve our dearest affection and clearest attention, often get the last scraps of our energy. They get the overflow of our frustrations, the dregs of our motivation, and the colorful language we’d rather not repeat for public consumption.
If love covers a multitude of sins, nowhere is love more needed than inside the family circle.
I have filled various family roles over the years. Son. Brother. Father. Husband. While each role may be different, requiring various forms of responsibility, the main core attributes I have needed to contribute are love, service, respect, and grace. When I give of myself fully in these forms, I bless my family, and help make the family unit a welcoming place to thrive.