Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Let it go

One of my former pastors used to preach the same sermon at the beginning of each Holiday season. He reminded everyone that Holidays for some were times of great stress because you have to be with family and you can't choose family.

I must admit I didn't always look forward to the many (many) years of Thanksgiving with my in-laws for they could be quite critical people. However, once I got there I often had a good time and I think Stephanie has very nice memories of Thanksgiving and Easter at Grandma and Grandpas house. I choose to forget the strained conversations and remember that which was happy.

My family could be really weird and loopy but they were a hugging, kissing, and lovin' kind of weird. I wasn't very close to them after I married. Partly because I lived away most years, a lot had to do with the age difference, and then again... different values. Most were party people with Jack Daniel's as a close friend.

As they grew older, most of them mellowed. A few came to know Christ as Saviour. I prayed for all. Some relationships changed completely. Bonnie's husband was a thorn in my flesh for most of my adult life. Illness and a new found faith changed him. We now count them as close friends as well as family. Never give up praying, for even that one who seems the most unlikely can change completely.

They're mostly gone now. I was born into a large family but very soon each married and started their own life. By the time I started school, none were around as much as they once had been. I miss them very much. I think back and realize the last time I saw each one, I didn't know it would be the last.

Bonnie is my only relative I see very often and since her husband has been ill and can't leave home easily, we don't get together often. We're in the process of working a time to see each other now.

My husband's brother called yesterday. Each December he picks up their sister and drives her back to the town where he lives for a week. He is divorced with no children, she never married. For his Christmas present to his siblings, he usually meets us at a very nice restaurant near the Interstate on their way going to or coming from their home town.

This year he has lost a lot of money in the stock market crash and asked if we'd mind meeting at someplace cheaper. I told him one of our very, very favorite places to go is Cracker Barrel for breakfast... at a fraction of the cost he'd pay for the other place. We're still working out the details on that.

So, for those who still have a lot of family around these Holidays... hug them... lots. I have advice on keeping those family celebrations calm.

Breath in. Breath out. Let it go... Decide ahead of time that there are roads you are not going down this year, regardless of conversations going on around you. Just let it go...

For love will always trump opinions and prayer will change their hearts.

Picture: Sharing Grandma's Cookies; allposters.com

19 comments:

Senkyoshi said...

The timing of this post is perfect. I needed it today.

~~Deby said...

Brenda...This was great...as the oldest of what was 7 children..we lost our brother last night, on his birthday at the young age of 44...twin to our sister..yep...Let it go...life is short...
Happy Thanksgivning to you and yours...
Deby

Angela said...

Beautiful Brenda..((hugs))

freetobeme - Anita said...

Great timely advice, and well written.

Quinne said...

"For love will always trump opinions and prayer will change their hearts."

I love that, Brenda :) Thanks so much for sharing!

I hope that you have a lovely Thanksgiving! Love & hugs, Q

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

Brenda, this is such a great word. We cannot hold onto hurts and expect to have peace in our life. Living in the present we shouldn't be hanging onto those hurts in the past. God is so good to us and He forgave us so we have to forgive also. Even when it doesn't make sense to us. I pray you have a precious time with your relatives. I love Cracker Barrel. They serve lots of comfort food. Take care.

hmsclmom said...

What a wonderful post...A friend died yesterday and when I think of all that her family is going through losing both their father 1 1/2 years ago and now their beloved mother, our extended family tensions seem very minor issues in comparison. Amd to the poster Deby, my heart and prayers go out to you and your family in your time of sorrow.

Blessings,
Debbie

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

Great post. Profound.

Anonymous said...

Brenda,
My laptop has gone to it's eternal reward, and it took hubby several days to build me a "new" one. So, I wasn't able to comment on the posts below. I didn't want you to think I didn't care. (about the rude people)
I LOVE YOU!!!
I am now catching up on the posts I missed. Even though I don't comment often, I read every post. I'm still here!
joanna :)

CatHerder said...

Fabulous post...couldnt have come at a better time :-). Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

You are oh so wise Brenda! A great lesson in loving others and remembering the truely important. God Bless you and your family - may your Thanksgiving be blessed.

Diana said...

As usual, Thanks Brenda. It's comforting to see someone sharing a "normal " real world family / holiday viewpoint. My thanksgivings are a time just between my husband and me--cooking turkey, watching the Macy's parade and eating pillsbury orange rolls for breakfast as a tradition, reading the black Friday ads even though I don't really have a lot of people to shop for (or $$ to shop with ). Kind of like "window shopping".....I had the big family, huge celebrations of the past and now almost everyone is gone--i was the baby. Just a sister and a couple of aunts / uncles are left. It's bittersweet to go down memory lane sometimes and think about the holidays past. But it's also a blessing because i had then and still create now rich memories . I'm truly Thankful and will be praying for others on this Thanksgiving. I hope you and your family enjoy the holiday.

Anonymous said...

Brenda..your post reminds me how blessed I am family-wise...as the oldest in a family of six, my hubby, the youngest in a family of four, and we have six young adults of our own and even a grandchild! Sometimes I long for more solitude, even at the holidays....but why do we always think the grass is greener on the other side? Thanks for your gentle reminder to hug those around me...for however long we have.

Clif said...

You are a splendid writer! I always find myself so wrapped up in what you are writing I hate for it to end. My four brothers and two sisters are all gone. My wife is an only child. We both had wonderful holidays with our families. We have two grown children who live about five minutes away. We will be spending Thanksgiving Day with them. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Wonderful advice...I am already planning ways to head trouble off at the pass and a lot of that had to do with the seating arrangement. ;>

Patti said...

You have a gorgeous blog!!! I'm not sure how I found it....obviously, a link from someone else, but I just don't remember who.

Anyhow, since I am a lover of tea and books, I was intrigued by the name of your blog and just had to stop by. I will definitely be back.

I am missing family this holiday. We moved away from family in 2000 and haven't spent any holidays with them since the 1999 holidays. I didn't appreiate those holidays then, like I do now that I'm not near them anymore. The lessons we learn as the Lord works in our hearts!

Blessings,
Patti

Terra said...

I appreciate you sharing about family woes and family joys. We all learn over the years, well, most of us.
Happy Thanksgiving,
Terra

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving Brenda!

Thank you for another lovely, timely post. We share some common ground being from families with memories of "Jack Daniels'" celebrations. I wouldn't want to return to what was, yet it's bittersweet to live alone and not be invited to the household of any sibling, particularly during the holidays.

I'm focussing on the good stuff today. There is always so much for which to give thanks. One of my blessings is the good writing you offer.

Have a blessed, happy, holy day!
:-)
Jean

Abounding Treasures said...

Amen! What a wonderful, timely post ... Blessings to you and yours :o)