“I hate who I become when I’m around my extended family,” she said.
“I act childish. I’m easily irked. I’m suddenly smug and superior. Why so suspicious of every word and motive? So cynical? This is not normally me!”
I get this.
“Around my extended family I’m caught in a rut of uncharitable inner thoughts,” she continued. “Despite my earnest prayers to the contrary.”
I totally get this.
Friends, I know this lovely woman and she is far from childish! She is refreshingly open, generous of spirit, and routinely gives others the full-fledged benefit of the doubt. This woman is an encouragement to many and a source of great pride and joy to her family. So what gives?
Perhaps this is you this Thanksgiving?
Perhaps time with family reveals the person you dislike most intensely; the person you’ve worked hard to forget or reinvent; the person you hope none of your children will ever become.
Time with family reveals that you haven’t shed the sticky skin of your past. You still want their approval. You still need to right some significant wrong. You still need them to understand something important.
Time with family reveals that you’ve done damage as a brother. You’re not a stellar sister. You still aren’t the person your parents prayed their child would be.
Even so, may this Thanksgiving break the chain.
May you bless – truly bless in your innermost parts – and not curse. May you bend towards your family in curiosity, interest, and even forgiveness, if needed. May you laugh and be utterly irreverent and free.
Because you are not the Savior of your people.
You are not the Redeemer of your family.
You are not The Reason things have gone awry, or why others admire or reject your family.
You are not a Wrong that needs righting.
May you search for what’s good and lovely wherever it can be found, and with God’s help, may you break the chain and be a life-giving blessing this Thanksgiving.
Shalom to you and yours,