"The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life." ~Richard David Bach
Friends have shared with me about the discord that exists in their extended families ~ siblings who don't speak to each other... adult children who haven't forgiven parents for something that happened years ago... in-laws that avoid each other because they can't see eye to eye. Hearing their stories has always made me grateful for the relationships within our family, and how blessed we are that everyone gets along despite the wide range of personalities.
Recently, a dispute arose within our extended family that opened my eyes up to the frailty of human relationships. The issue in and of itself was not a big one, but it created a rift. Words were spoken that should have not been said. Feelings got hurt. Untruths were thrown about. And a closeness between people that had taken years to build quickly erroded.
Someone near and dear to me counseled me to stick up for myself and defend myself against the untruths that were spoken about me. But I shy away from anything that might burn bridges and erect fences in their place. In my opinion, what feels so devastating at the time is usually not worth risking the damage that can be done when things are said out of heated emotion.
Here's the bottom line ~ relationships...ALL RELATIONSHIPS... are fragile! They should come with a warning attached, "HANDLE WITH CARE". There is no relationship that is immune to the possible fall-out. To think differently is to set ourselves up for disappointment. Only our relationship with God is rock solid, and even that can dissolve because one of us is human!
Those we love and want to keep in our lives we should treat with utmost respect, honor, kindness, and consideration. Sure, we are going to blow it at times. But we don't have to let those moments defeat us or do permanent damage to our relationships. Instead, we can choose humility, honesty, compassion, and forgiveness.
I have learned my lesson ~ though my flesh cries out to right the wrongs, to shed light on the untruths, and to defend myself, I wonder ~ at what cost? Life is too short to waste another minute staying angry, especially with family. I want to build bridges instead of fences. How about you?
"Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment."
"Do all that you can to live at peace with everyone."