Look to the past as a primer for old age. The mistakes and the moments of perfection, the sins and redemption for those who know Christ, the different stories of others and how they marked their perceptions in life. This past year has been a time of seeing others in new ways, of seeing them through the eyes of new understanding. As my sisters and I were tending to my dad’s care and household affairs, we shared our stories and emotions while we shared in the division of my dad and mom’s earthly goods. Dad had wanted us to take Mama’s things after she passed away many years ago, but we couldn’t bear to go through her things and have the house not look like “home.” We did donate her clothing to a women's shelter, but her jewelry and other personal items remained untouched. When dad had to go into a nursing home and his house needed sold, that was the time for us to dive into memories as we gathered to disperse their belongings. It was a good time for us sisters who didn’t always get along; we had a plan, we had compassion for each other, we had our love. We shared stories and memories that some knew and some didn’t; we shared emotions that had hibernated until they burst out…which was good and cathartic, enlightening each other with our inner selves. Our laughter rang throughout the house with our shared memories and the discovery of others, and our tears were allowed with compassion and love.
For me, the enlightenment was worth it all. Although perceptions might be different, I now understand where the differences come from, not just our personalities, but the different stories within our family.
As I get older, I appreciate the lessons I’ve learned through the process. Some (many) of the lessons were hard earned, but the new understanding of the time and myself/others is worth the hardship. I’ve experienced the truth that “God causes all things to work together for good for those who love the Lord, to those who are called according to His purpose,” (Romans 6:28) and seeing that in my own life, I have faith that the same will be for the people I know and love.
Have you gained new insight from sharing stories with your family?
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