The sentiments behind this post have been tugging at me for a while. When a friend lost her father to cancer just before Thanksgiving, I knew I needed to write it.
Before I get to the point, and it’s coming I promise, let me say that I am lucky. I have been blessed with an amazing family. We aren’t perfect. We can be nosy, overly critical, opinionated…we can be real annoyances at times. But, I wouldn’t trade my family and I’m pretty sure they feel the same about me, even when I am making them nuts.
There are a lot of other people in this world who aren’t that lucky. For them, the familial relationship is toxic, not warm and supporting. This isn’t caused by a minor argument or hurt feelings but by very real threats to a person’s mental, and sometimes physical, health. Their well-being depends on staying away from their relations. For these people, cutting ties with their family is the only decision but it is never an easy one and it’s certainly not something that they want to do. Some took decades of abuse before letting go; others could take this treatment for themselves but couldn’t see a spouse or child endure the same. No one wants to be in this situation. No matter how necessary the decision, it still comes with grief and a sense of loss.
These people I understand. I can’t really relate to their decision, but I get it.
What I don’t understand are people who willingly push their family members away for minor wrongs – whether real or perceived. Instead of trying to overcome their problems and forgive, they sit in judgment and use love like a weapon. They’re all too willing to turn their backs on a sibling, spouse, child, parent, or other relation often just because the other person made a life choice that they don’t like. I can’t tell you how thankful I am that God doesn’t treat us that way.
To these people I say, “build a bridge and get over it.” We’re humans – sometimes we get things wrong. Of course sometimes we just do things you don’t like and that’s not the same as being wrong. You can turn your back on your loved ones. You can treat them maliciously. You can withhold your love. You can’t possibly be surprised when that “offending” family member decides that he/she is tired of being hurt and stops giving you the opportunity to do so.