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a new year: lessons in love

January 3, 2009
The Family

The Family

Happy New Year, my faithful readers!  The New Year has already provided little life lessons:

We all have situations in which we are hurt by those we love or vice versa.  An unintentional comment, a poor decision or thoughtlessness for the other person can lead to a mess we would rather avoid.  Most of us, me especially, have a hard time swallowing our pride, admitting our wrong and asking forgiveness.  Even more difficult at times is forgiving the person who has done the hurting.  The wronged often prefer to lick their wounds and let their anger fester.

Which brings me to a recent familial instance in which I was the person wronged.  I was mortified, hurt and disappointed by this person’s actions.  I knew he was sorry (I am using ‘he’ as a general pronoun to protect the identity of my sibling.), but when several days had gone by without an apology, I was angry.

Family dinner on New Year’s Day was rather awkward, though I don’t know if anyone else realized it.  I said a few harsh comments to him after dinner and another sibling called me out on it.  I was acting on my anger and knew that I shouldn’t.  Still I didn’t like being reminded of that.

I was over-tired from staying up late for the New Year celebrations and getting up early for Mass in honor of the Solemnity of Mary.  I wanted to take a nap, but decided to work out instead.  I jumped on the stationary bike in the basement of my parents’ house and pedaled away.  My sibling, the one by whom I was wronged, came downstairs:

“Um, Celia?  Do you have a minute?”

I looked at him and then down at the bike.  “Well, it’s not like I’m going anywhere.”

The conversation was not easy but it was good: misunderstandings were corrected, apologies given and accepted (on both sides), reparation made, and healing in the relationship begun.  We both made resolutions in which to heal our relationship and gain back the trust that was lost.

No one likes being hurt, but it is going to happen.  No one except the Blessed Trinity and our beloved Mother is perfect.  We try to love each other as we think the other needs to be loved, but we will never love them as perfectly as they need to be loved.  Hurt will occur, but that is when relationships have biggest opportunity to grow.  It is an intimate moment between the parties involved.  They both allow the other to see them at their weakest moment when the wrong occurs and then at their strongest moment when pride is forgotten and forgiveness given.

Do I wish the situation with my sibling had never happened?  Not exactly.  If I had been spared the pain and embarrassment of his actions, we would not have had the chance to grow.  Our relationship is stronger now and we have a better understading of each other.  I am grateful we both chose to work through the pain and our pride.

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