Monday, November 26, 2012

Home Isn't Always Where the Heart Is

A Facebook cartoon I saw last week said something like, “Thanksgiving—the day family gets together—and you just hope the police don’t have to be called.”

Or, it said something like that.

You’d think that of all holidays, Thanksgiving, wouldn’t require police activity. Or fist fights. Or domestic violence. Or a cross word. But then again, shouldn’t that be the case with ALL holidays? Shouldn’t all families’ holiday get-togethers look like a Norman Rockwell painting on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post?

Yet, that is not the case. Too often, when families get together, the long-ago buried demons seem to rise to the surface.


It has nothing to do with Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day or any other holiday. It has nothing to do with turkey or presents. And, it probably doesn’t even have anything to do with that canned jellied cranberry sauce being served.

At the root of the problem seems to be the other 360-something days in the year. Or, maybe it has to do with the years and years of unresolved problems within the family.

Why do we believe that a family can come together for a meal or party or get-together and everything will be fine for those few hours? What leads us to believe that everything from the past will be glossed over as the dressing or stuffing is passed? Do we really think mean-spirited words, hateful attitudes, or favoritism can be covered over with faked smiles, a turkey from Kroger, or a preserved box of mystery meats from Hickory Farms?

A lifetime of anger, frustration, or disappointment doesn’t melt away like a stick of butter left on the stove. Those conflicts, whether spoken or swept under the proverbial rug, eat away any possibilities of joy or happiness.

Some people will say, “Smile.” Or, “Grin and bear it!” Or, “It’ll be over in a few hours, just suck it up and take it.”

Yet, over time, you can’t smile or grin and bear it or suck it up any longer. You just can’t. A clean break is needed. That’s about the only way to deal with it. Just walk away. Just wipe your feet and move on.

There are some people who will say that’s running away. Maybe it is. But, after a lifetime of seeking resolution and peace, and never being able to find it, you have to do something to preserve your sanity…and the belief in what you know is right.

This holiday season, as people talk about love and celebrate family, remember, not everyone is celebrating family. Not everyone is surrounded by love or joy or even peace when family is close by.

Rather than judging or sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong, just say a prayer for families that aren’t close. You’ll probably never know why they are estranged. Nor is it even your business.

Just realize that what you see took a lifetime to come. Only prayers can bring resolution. And, peace.


  1. Silly me. I never knew Facebook came in a carton.

    Live and learn, I guess.

    Oh .. the post: good stuff. "unresolved" was the big word. Maybe some day the world will learn. The church (the ekklesia variety) ought to have, long ago.

    Oh #2 ... happy anniversary.

  2. Bob...that's why I'm your friend--so, I can teach you things...

    Yes, unresolved...a lot of that going around!

    Thanks for the anniversary wishes!

  3. One of the falsehoods the church perpetrates, or at least continues, is that we're to "forgive and forget", because that's what God does. And that last part's what's not true. God doesn't forget. He promises not to bring it to mind again. And if it comes up, it comes up as forgiven.

    The best SS teacher I ever met says what we're to do is to "forgive, and remember it as forgiven".



Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I can't wait to read what you have written.