Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What Matters Most- 4- Family

I write this blog with fear and trembling. Family is certainly an important part of every person's life. And yet, for some, maybe for many, family has also been the place where they have been hurt most.

So, if you're reading this and you've been abused by family, physically, sexually, maybe verbally, then you have issues to work through with family. For some, the best answer to finding redemption of any kind is to separate yourself from family. If someone is abusing you, get out now; get away and get counseling.

For the rest of us, family is the source of who we are generally. We are certainly not limited to our families (where we grew up) but our family of origin is foundational to who we are as people.

I grew up in a broken home, at least that's what we called it back then. My mother and father were separated from each other when I was a baby. Dad came back at least once; my sister was born a year later. My dad worked the Railroad but was an alcoholic, something that my mother could not and would not tolerate. So, she moved us into the same house with her parents. We grew up with mom working to make ends meet and living with our grandmother and grandfather.

I saw my dad once when I was eight years old. Mom picked us up from school and took us to see him. He ran a gasoline station. He stood on the outside of the car and talked to mom in the front seat. My sister and I were in the back seat. I don't remember ever seeing his face.

Then, when I was thirty-five he called and wanted to see us at Christmas. I tried another time to see him, but he was unable to sustain a relationship with me.

You see, the better part of my life, my identity was tied up in not having a father at home. My mother's dad was my dad but he died when I was 13 years old. Things were tough. I went to work shortly after that delivering papers to help out.

Here's what I mean by all this. Somehow, everyone has to come to a point in their lives when they make peace with their family. I'm sure my children have much to forgive me for. Everyone knows who they are by the family they had. And, if there are issues to settle, these issues need to be settled before you can have a full and happy life.

God set up the world in such a way as to give everyone a mother and father, a family. I give thanks to God for the family I had, the one who loved and nurtured me. I forgave my dad a long time ago.

How is it with your family of origin?
Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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