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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Our Family Blanket - Thanksgiving 2006

Our Family Blanket

Family is like an old quilt with its patchwork of different personalities - a gathering of so many varied pieces of cloth that bring warmth, protection and comfort.

This year, the blanket which is our Family has been tattered by death, anniversaries of death, changes in employment and surgeries. It has been marked by first days of school, and a myriad of changes that mark the passing of another year. It has also been added to by birth of the first great grandchild who will never feel the embrace of her great grandfather – a man she will only know of through pictures and words - and the blanket.

Late in September, we received the troubling news that Mama had developed several medical conditions – any of which could have proven fatal.

Months have passed and after a difficult recovery period, test after test has revealed good news; she is cancer-free. We appreciate the miracle.

Despite such wonderful blessings, Mama’s illness and recovery revealed some disturbing frays in the blanket – an undercurrent which threatens the very fabric that binds our family together.

With so many different personalities pulling in so many different directions we have been faced with the challenge of remaining united. As many of us have witnessed – some more recently than others - the work that goes into maintaining the blanket can often be thankless and downright frustrating. Well the work may be thankless but, it remains nonetheless necessary – just ask Mama. Investing in it and abiding by it has been her life's work.

Recently, some members of the family have adopted the nasty business of forming alliances for the purpose of politicking against others with differing perspectives. Formation of such pacts is short sighted. It is dangerous and it is destructive; when we engage in picking and choosing only the parts of the blanket that we find particularly agreeable then we no longer have a blanket – we no longer have a family.

The blanket of family is a gift given to each and every one of us. It doesn’t individually belong to any one of us. Rather, we belong to it. It is not ours to tear apart. We were brought into it with the expectation that we would not only improve it but that we would faithfully pass it on - in better condition than we received it.

Our family is a testament of honor to those who gave it to us and to the one who created us. We honor them by appreciating and caring for each other - with love, respect and kindness - even when we happen to disagree.

Love and respect are the threads that stitch our patchwork together; let us sew them abundantly and without condition for that is the lesson our children will carry on when they become the parents, the grandparents, the uncles and the aunts of tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow because family is the legacy we leave to our future generations.

It is my deepest wish that, after we are done with holding each other’s hands at this moment of prayer, that we will carry away a profound understanding that the life which pulses through those hands we are holding right now is the very life which was gifted to us as well by our parents, our grandparents and our Creator.

Bearing in mind Mama’s recent frightening experience with Cancer I pray we will remain awakened to the reality that the time is a precious commodity that ought not be squandered away with fractious self-promotion. It should be spent sewing memories of support, trust and love into the blanket of our family. Now is the time to do away the haughty, hurtful and divisive coalitions.

It is incumbent upon each of us to protect our family at all costs - to avoid damaging it with our pridefulness and self-promotion. When neccessary, we are compelled to fix the tears - without complaint or fanfair. While it is in our care, let us work not only to keep it together but to make it stronger by being of service to one another.

There is no doubt that keeping the family together requires a tremendous amount of effort but if each of us remembers our basic responsibility to be respectful, courteous, empathetic, grateful, and kind toward one another – this family can never die.

Thank you Mama, thank you Daddy and thank you Dear Lord for this beautiful blanket we call family.


At Thu Nov 23, 09:45:00 PM MST, Blogger Xolo said...

Beautiful words.

My thoughts are with you and your blanket, may it keep you warm and snug forever.

At Mon Nov 27, 02:49:00 PM MST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. In so many ways it reminds me of what happened in our family when my brother-in-law died last year. And the fraying of family bonds that still exist today.

You have the ability to not only be open and honest in your writings, but compassionate.


At Fri Dec 01, 07:26:00 PM MST, Blogger Beaver said...

Happy belated thanksgiving, Joe !


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