Faith / Family / Life Lessons

The Proverbial Elephant in the Room

Relationships can be tricky, especially family relationships.  For years can pass:   graduations, marriages, the birth of children, new jobs and funerals and somehow there can still remain things that go unsaid.  Oh, you dance around the real issues, as if, no one see’s the elephant in the room.  You can put on a happy face, playing your part in the Tragedy of Errors;  A family drama complete with plots and characters, collision and conflict;  with as much feuding and rivalry as the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s.  You play your part for how long in the farce?  The seemingly ancient quarrel that has penetrated generations and lasted decades.

Until, one day you wake up and realize that something has to give.  If your honest, it has effected the health of family members, shaped the way you see the world, penetrated and soured the hearts and minds of those you love with bitterness.  Someone needs to speak the truth in love.  With out the truth, no one can take ownership.  Without ownership, there can’t be forgiveness.  Without forgiveness, they can’t be reconciliation.  The reality is, your tired of pretending and dancing around what nobody wants to talk about.  The first step starts with the truth.

My sinful nature wants to push things under the rug.  It wants to avoid conflict and therefore avoid the truth.  But no matter how hard we try to “ignore” the elephant, it always seems to make noise again, usually around the holidays.  There are times when I have been caught in the crossfire;  trying hard to be “friends” on both sides of the fence.  This, in turn, I have found does not work very well.  One party is always hurt;  whether or not you try to stay neutral.  An act of extending the laurel leaf to one side is taken as an act of disloyalty towards the other.  Sometimes just the mention of so-and-so’s name can start a fire so grandiose you end up getting burned.  Are you with me?  Do you know what I mean?  Perhaps, this is your story as well.

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I guess there comes a time of maturity in a persons life when being “politically correct” needs to take a back seat to being honest in our dealings with each other.

Even if that means having to give loving criticism that could hurt the person initially.  I am now convinced that without it, there can be no change.  People often want to live a delusion when life gets too difficult to manage.  I know that the truth can sometimes be very painful.  We live in a sinful world with sinful desires.  We all have been hurt by others, especially those we love.

I once heard a story about the formation of a pearl written by a man named Chuck Swindoll;  he urges us to look at the “trials” in our lives as friends and not as enemies.  Here is his illustration and analogy of a pearl as I see it relating to relationships:

“Pearls are the product of pain. For some unknown reason, the shell of the oyster gets pierced and an alien substance – a grain of sand – slips inside.  On the entry of the foreign irritant, all the resources within the tiny, sensitive oyster rush to the spot and begin to release healing fluids that otherwise would have remained dormant.  By and by the irritant is covered and the wound is healed – by a pearl.  No other gem has so fascinating a history.  It is the symbol of stress – a healed wound….a precious, tiny jewel conceived through irritation, born of adversity, nursed by adjustments.  Had there been no wounding, no irritating interruption, there could have been no pearl.”

So my assignment this week?  To meditate on how I can be more forthright and honest in my family relationships.  I would like to trade in the broken family fued  for a beautiful strand of pearls.  I would like to speak the truth in love and stop dancing around the proverbial elephant in the room.  How about you?