30 June 2009


Wow, I have not blogged in over a week!!! Last week/day of school consumed me, and now my dear child has a fever. My mind is still churning though. In light of the current state of the economy, many of our families are being tested as to how much compassion they have for one another if members have fallen on hard times. In one family alone, one can find various levels of living styles and financial backgrounds, and within that same family there exists varying degrees of compassion, respect and love.

One thing that is certain, with or without an economic struggle, families tend to be very different. Some possess an undying spirit of "oneness" that can not be broken by any circumstances - they support and love each other no matter what...no matter what the finances or the background.

Others are stricken with huge amounts of turmoil that may simply encompass jealousy, resentment, hatred for no other reason than personality conflicts. Why go out of the way to dislike a family member or to impart unnecessary distress on them, especially when you can see they need help??? We have all come to learn that some people value their friendships more than they value their families and this is truly a sad state of affairs, but many of us are so thankful for the friends we have. The lesson that has been learned is that just because they are your family does not mean they have to love you, much less respect and support you.

My father was one of 9 children... or was it 10?? Back then families were huge! In my imagination such a large family spells lots of big family gatherings, filled with love and fun, but actually for such large families it could spell lots of conflict! Today in these tough financial times, there are still a good amount of couples marrying and wanting to have more than 2 children. In fact many have 4, 5 and 6 children, and I wonder how hard they work towards making sure there exists a great family bond of true love, compassion and respect for one another?? It truly takes hard work just as you would work on anything in life that you want to be successful with. You can not just let the chips land where they may because that may result in pure disaster.

I remember someone very close to me who was one of 9 children herself, and the stories she shared with me made my head spin. More children, more drama! But the saddest drama came about when she was in her 50s. She was very close to one of her sisters, the one who was slightly younger than her. They talked and shared so much over the years, and continued with much dedication even when both got married and started their own families and lived in different states miles apart. There was a special bond between them, until one day the younger sister's husband had a heart attack and died. She called her older sister and told her what happened. The older sister was deeply saddened by the news and she conveyed this on the telephone to her sister. Of course she was extremely sympathetic and of course she knew her sister was in deep hurt and needed her. Those things were very obvious to all who knew them based on the relationship they had always had between one another. No extra words or gestures needed to be made to quantify that. Anyone who knew the two of them, knew of their unbreakable bond with one another.

But something very, very strange happened that shattered what everyone came to believe as a truth. The older sister, tied down with her own family and it's issues told the younger sister that she would be coming to her side in 2 days...... not right away, not at that very instant. The younger sister was shocked and in disbelief. She expected her younger sister to drop everything and come NOW!! At this instance!! In her mind her sister's love was to prove itself now at this moment. But she did not say anything to her older sister, she just listened quietly. Her attitude changed in the blink of an eye. She no longer felt a sense of comfort that her sister was the person she could depend on for anything. She felt betrayed. She felt abandoned. Their relationship would never be the same.

This is the truth about this story. Can you imagine the outcome of this story? Two sisters who were closer than one could imagine suddenly became as far apart as two people could be to the point that hatred and resentment set in for many seasons??? Years. About 7 years they never spoke to one another again. They never were able to calmly and effectively sit down and discuss the circumstances of the situation. You know what brought them back together?? The death of the other sister's husband. Why does TRAGEDY have to be the catalyst for a break up? And perhaps a make-up?

This story to me is a great example of many family disagreements that get way out of hand. Was the younger sister within her right to be angry about her older sister not dashing to her side as soon as she heard about her husband passing away? Or should she have been understanding that her older sister had a life many miles away and be thankful that she would get there eventually? OR.... Was the older sister to just forget about everything and just go to her younger sister's side? or Was she well within her right to tie up any loose ends on her part and just get there when possible???

We can all formulate opinions, and this is what families tend to do the BEST. Everyone has an opinion on what the other person should or should not be doing. Family members tend to think that "family" means "you have the right to say and do whatever you please." Being truthful and honest is surely a good thing in particular when it will do the most good. But compassion, love and devotion speak the loudest particularly in situations that are GRAVE.

Many family feuds can be avoided if the members of the families could let their HEART be their guides. If there is genuine love between parents/siblings/relatives, then it should be easy to make decisions based on that, as long as it is all to achieve good and balance.

I hear so many stories about various families and I often think, "WOW..... WOW!!"

My desire to write this blog was based on personal experience, but I started to realize when thinking about it, how many, many people are afflicted by unnecessary family conflicts. I also thought about the great stories I hear about families coming together in times of despair to keep the family going strong and sticking together. This is what we need in a time like this because it resonates on the type of people we are in this great big WORLD. Greed and resentment is what got us in this bind in the first place. If families can't be the foundation of GOOD, we are doomed as a society going forward.

Looking at/hearing all the coverage on Michael Jackson truly has me thinking a lot about this very topic. Of course Michael had many issues throughout his lifetime ...... we could point our fingers at many... we could blame him... we could blame his parents... however, the entire world is mourning the passing of a legend.... the King of Pop..... a truly talented man......

He is gone....

Many people are starting to think about people in their lives and how much they love them. The worse feeling in the world is to have someone leave you and never ever be able to see and speak with them ever again. The worse feeling is to have been feuding over something that is truly NOT so significant when you really look at it. The worse feeling is to have your last memory of someone you (used to?) love to be one about the disagreement you had. The worse thing is to allow a disagreement to cloud the true, "good" relationship you had with your loved one.

People are mourning MJ saying things like, "he really impacted my life." That is a gift. Perhaps a loved one can't buy you gifts, or can't call you on the phone everyday --- but there is some other way they have impacted YOUR life..... treasure it and remember to love them and show it while they are here and do not wait until they are gone to cry over their passing and live with regret. Often times what you REFUSED to come to an agreement on, could never shatter your relationship --- perhaps if you would have worked together, you would have lifted each other up to NEW heights. Less time spent criticizing, and more time spent uplifting and supporting would result in happiness all around.

We must really stop and consider what LIFE and FAMILY is truly about so we are not in a world of hurt when it is too late to matter. This cycle of people living with regrets needs to stop.

Embrace your loved ones! Love and support one another because a family's embrace could be the best embrace!!


Rosa said...

You made me cry with this blog. I can't even begin to share my family stories, they too make me weepy. But I am grateful for the sane and understanding ones....and of course for the handful of great friends I have. Together w/ them and my happy spirit - I get thru it. Hopefully more families out there will understand how important they can be to one another!

Anonymous said...

I was curious about this very topic concerning family since it’s very close to me. I recently spoke to a longtime friend of mine – woman who is married mother of two and grandmother of two – she the very essence of kindness and compassion. She was also a mentor to me in my early adult years. To get further insight, I recently spoke with a psychologist and a minister.

Friendships and family relationships have a very divergent dynamic. Friendships often stem out of shared interests or shared experiences. Typically friends will offer kind words or encouragement and make us feel better when we are down. A friend is not likely to say anything negative or bad. With friends, we choose what to share or not share with depending on the level of friendship. In this sense, friendships do have limits of what either parties are willing to do or say. In contrast, more of our lives are shared with family – whether we choose to or not. As such, family is more likely to say the things that a friend is not likely to risk saying. We might not want to digest what that family member has to say – but often it’s given out of genuine concern. It’s also very clear that if we have a falling out with a friend that person will cease to be a friend; if we have a falling out with family – they’re still family.

Family relationships are can be very challenging – particularly when others are called on for assistance. Even though it is family, help has it’s limits and there is nothing cruel about that. Earlier this week three separate people gave me this old quote “"those for whom you do the most, wind up resenting you the worst." Familes should always be loving and compassionate – but there is a limit to what help they should give to an adult member – even in the current climate and especially if they are not rich. We can pray, agonize and cry for our loved ones but sometimes we have to let them find their way through experiencing the consequences of their ways.

Jacquie said...

Anonymous, this is good feedback. I would venture to say that a lot of people do have different sorts of friends, some, yes that always say the right thing, but we also have friends that are much like family and will cross that line and say the things we don't want to hear. A good friendship does not fall apart during these instances unless the friendship was not true friendship in the first place, and if the words are not genuine. Real love is just that, real. I have a few friends who I am very true to, and vice versa and I learned to be that way based on some not-so-true friendships I had in the past. It comes down to what's in the heart and how much you care about the person. Dishonesty does not help any relationship.

With regards to family, I think we can clearly see who in the family needs to be agonized over and who deserves support. We can't pretend that some families are just not filled with genuine love and compassion. They sometimes "act" out of obligation but they harbor some sort of resentment along the way. For example, holding grudges because a family member chooses a certain career, or a certain religion, or decides to marry someone of a different race. Time gets wasted being critical of that person's choices and it does more harm than good when the relationships become compromised. If someone, good in a family, falls on hard times, I do not see the good in leaving them to experience the consequences when they certainly did not set out to endure consequences.

In both instances, again, it's a matter of genuine love and being there for the person who you know deserves your love and support. It's also a matter of stepping in when you see someone needs help. Often times, regular human beings don't do this. Reminds me of the show, "what would you do?" If you see someone needs help, step in and help.