My family is not perfect. Over the years we've experienced real pain and conflict. We're a strong-willed passionate group and it can sometimes be easy to slip into explosive fights. I, myself, have had arguments with almost everyone—my sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, my parents. I've also watched family members argue amongst themselves, but most importantly I've watched them humbly apologize and delve out grace and forgiveness.
A lot of people think conflict and confrontation is a bad thing, but I don't. I see conflict resolution as opportunities for growth. Every time I've had a confrontation with anyone, we have emerged on the other side closer. Don't get me wrong, there have definitely been times when we have taken it too far. I have cringed thinking about some of the words that have come out of my mouth. But the thing that I have learned from my family is that we always forgive. Forgiveness is such a key part of being a family and that's a lesson I hope to pass down to my own kids.
One time when I was in college I went to a family party. Somehow my cousin and I got into a discussion about religion and it got pretty heated. I don't remember how it happened but my uncle got involved and let's just say, it wasn't pretty. The party was winding down and I was upset I got into my car to leave. My uncle came to my window and said he was sorry for how everything had transpired. Still being young and immature, I kind of just looked away and didn't say anything. My mom came to me later and said she was disappointed in the way I had received (or not received) my uncle's sincere apology. I realized she was right. My uncle and I worked it out and now we're very close and I have incredible respect for him.
It's expected that we will argue or disappoint each other in some way. After all, we are human and we make mistakes. But it is also a certainty that we will not allow any rifts to tear us apart.
In that moment I began to reflect on my family members. We are all flawed, but we are also filled with love and grace for each other. It's expected that we will argue or disappoint each other in some way. After all, we are human and we make mistakes. But it is also a certainty that we will not allow any rifts to tear us apart. We will fight for each other and ask for forgiveness and forgive.
I want my kids to know that it's important to not give up on family. I never want them to stop talking for years because of a silly argument. I never want them to hold grudges against one another, or anyone. I want them to understand the power of forgiveness because it will make their lives better. I love that I can always count on my family. I know they will be there for me and we will navigate all the bumps in the road together. And when I mess up, because I will, they will always love and forgive me.