A friend once said that when couples marry, one family is usually more dominant than the other. I can see the truth in that statement, especially when blended families are involved. One family has close extended familial relationships, and the other doesn’t. Some have the means to travel, and others all live locally. People get along, and people don’t. It happens.
Holidays are trying for families who jump through hoops to accommodate everyone’s plans. I remember. Still, sometimes it seems like one family consistently gets the short end of the stick. It’s not fair, but how they handle their slighted feelings is the difference between being considered or left behind. We know.
Hopefully, we’ve raised our children to grow into considerate adults who love their parents and want to spend time with us. Even if the gift of time isn’t offered, a simple note or phone call on a special occasion or holiday can heal wounds, intentional or not. Some people have done everything right, had loving relationships with their children, and been surprised at how quickly and efficiently they were left coughing in the dust. Nothing makes sense to explain it. My heart goes out to them.
If you are a member of the favored family, think about how it would feel to be on the other side of the fence and how you would respond. Could you resolve to share these precious people with others who love them? Inviting the other family to your home is kind and generous. But please remember every family deserves to keep their own traditions alive and spend time alone with their loved ones in their own way.
The gift of time is precious. I know it’s hard to hear when you are already stressing, but it’s like slapping your family in the face at Christmas to eat a meal that took hours to prepare, open presents, and run in two hours. It’s even more hurtful to forget your family completely. If you can’t spend a few hours, maybe it would be better to choose another day to celebrate. It really doesn’t matter when, you know, because the Spirit of Christ is alive in the love you share together. Parents’ hearts are full when they are gifted with your presence (not presents), and when that’s not logistically possible? Please call!
For those who are feeling forgotten and alienated for any reason, don’t suffer in silence. Reach out and look for ways to serve in the lives of others. You are not alone by any stretch of the imagination. By focusing on others, the pain in your heart will be lessened, and healing can commence.
In those instances when the situation seems permanent, leave the door ajar for those who shut you out because, in their absence, their lives are a mystery to you. Someday they might need you to be the hand of Jesus if they come calling. What an honor that would be.
In the meantime, live righteously in body, mind, and spirit. Keep praying. That peace you crave will come.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are doing good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do this. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to take, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same.” Luke 7:31-34 TLV