I posted awhile back about the collapse of my family. Things still are not going well, they have infact gone from bad to worse. I have few skills in this world, the spoken word not being one of them. I promised my Grandmother I would protect the family, and that means keeping them together. So I wrote the fallowing. I ask that everyone who reads please take it very seriously, and above all please give me their thoughts on the subject and the paper. It needs to be perfect. I need your help.
I am a young man, just beginning my path in this world. The ages have not yet yielded to me their secrets, but I feel as though I have seen enough to speak. While I have yet to be graced by the wisdom of the ages, I have been graced with skills of observation. I have observed as much as one can in as short a time as I have walked this Earth. I ask only that you read this in its entirety, take it seriously, think over your responses carefully before posting them. This is not meant to be a new weapon in some offensive, it is merely meant to inspire thought, and perhaps new found understanding amongst warring factions.
The world is a cold dark place. It is filled with shadows, faint whispers of figures, remorseless phantoms that care not for the poor lost souls wandering the atlas’s dark corridors. One innocent soul lost in a sea of chaos cannot begin to dream of ever finding happiness. The cold wind is an ever present sign of nature’s malice: only the strong survive. Mist and shadow cloud the way out of this dismal abyss, one without a light is surely lost forever, doomed to roam the recesses of misery by themselves.
The Lord would never abandon mankind to such a wretched fate. He has too much love for us to do something so cold hearted. That is why mankind was blessed with the gift of family. A gift many of us so often ignore until it is too late. It is this gift of that brings light to the darkness, brings strength to the weak, and empowers us to face the unremorseful world. It is baffling to me why the power of this gift, the strength that it gives us, the happiness it brings is so often forsaken. It is truly baffling to me that so many abuse this gift, and treat it as though it was as common as a fly on the wall on a hot summer’s day. Too many people look at this gift from God and do not realize that it is something that is irreplaceable.
A family is a group that comforts you when you’re sick, brings strength to you when you are weak. They are supposed to stand by you and guide you through the streets of life. They are like a lighthouse on the rocky shore of the ocean, signaling you that you are close to safety, while at the same time guiding you away from the rocks. That is the duty with which family is charged. Family is not however, a tool to be manipulated and used to achieve one’s own self-serving needs. A family is a unit, made up of many individuals who all must take their turn tending the light house. If one chooses to neglect their responsibility, to act out of narcissistic desires, the flame will wither and die, and that warm welcoming beacon of hope does not stand a chance of being able to cut through the treacherous fog.
A family must stand together, stand for one another that is where the strength of family emanates, the love for one another. So many people seem to think that standing together, and supporting one another, means feeding on each other. There is a difference between support and dependence. A family is a safe harbor from treacherous seas, an oasis the shelters you from the storm. However it cannot support you indefinitely. Eventually you must face the vast expanse of this world, venture out into it on your own, start your own adventure. That does not mean however that the safety of that harbor is not always going to be there. In one form or another family will be there to help. It is foolish though to just expect family to help you, to assume that family will be right around the corner to help you clean up your messes. Yes they are there to help you in hard times, but you have to be responsible enough to ask for help. A light house does no good if you are not willing to heed its warning. A safe harbor yields no sanctuary if one does not seek its calm temped waters. An island paradise does you no good, if you squander its resources. Eventually one must stand on one’s own feet, and return the help, the kindness, and the aid that the family has given them. Family is supposed to help one another, but that means that everyone is supposed to help everyone else. Even the weakest of members must be expected to pull their own weight. In life there are many hills to climb; it is far easier to pull a wagon up a hill with 16 people than it is by yourself. No family ever expects its members to pull their wagon by themselves, but it is not fair to the people who have given you so much to sit in your wagon and expect them to pull it to the top of the hill for you. Your weight although small in comparison to the weight of the wagon, is still an added burden the family must bear. Yes, if someone is weak, the family should bear that burden, take on that extra load, and do so with a smile, for one day they may need this help. But eventually, one must get out of the wagon; one must take their ranks amongst the team. It is, at least to me, incomprehensible how one can ride in the wagon, add that burden to the family and just expect them to bare it. How guilt must fill those who ride the wagon for endless assents up life’s peaks. I can understand why they would want to: the trek is tough, and riding is easy, but to be able to sit and watch while the rest of the family is forced to bare their extra weight time and time again, I cannot begin to imagine the thought process that leads a person to think that this is alright. The family is doing that individual no favors by allowing this perpetual ride; they are denying that person the lessons of the trail. They are being denied the strength that comes from falling down in the mud, from having to make that trip up the hill.
A family is a unit of people, who help one another out of the kindness, and the love they have in their hearts. They do this not out of the thought of reward; no, they do it because they know it is right, they do it because they love the people in the family. But there are those who take advantage of the system, there are those who ride the wagon time and time again to the top of the hill, and then have the audacity to complain about the quality of the ride. They spit in the face of the hospitality of the family and make demands for, or worse yet feel as though they are entitled to further aid, without ever offering to step off of the wagon and take their turn on the team. These individuals cause the greatest of burdens to the family, consuming the most time, and the most energy while contributing the least. The added stress of this can push even the strongest family past its limits.
A family is a unit that cannot be replaced: it can be repaired, and it can grow, but once destroyed it is gone forever. You can build things that resemble a family, but they are nothing more than a hollow shell, a ghostly reminder of what you once enjoyed. Stress can damage the walls of the fortress, but love can rebuild them. Anger can build barriers in the home, but compassion can break them down. Selfishness and irresponsibility can divide a home, but logic and reason can bring it back together. Love and compassion are the strongest mortar the world has ever known, they can only be destroyed by a lack of attention and complacence. One must remember what family is, and what it is supposed to do.
A family is a strong unit because the members make it strong. Many individuals working together each with a roll, rolls not assigned by some higher power, but rather rolls that evolve to fit the individuals, their strengths and their weaknesses. No one is good at everything, and no one should be expected to be good at everything. That is why a family is so strong, each member has strengths, that help cover the others weaknesses. It is the duty of the strong to help the weak. The tall are the arms of the short, the young are the legs for the old. The wise must guide those who are just discovering the ways of the world. The elders must prepare the young for the trials ahead, they must teach them how the world works, and guide them into the vast expanse of the world to start their own journey. Leaving the safety of home, can be scary, the world of adults is one that is far less certain than the world of youthful joy. All young people eventually reach this precipice, the wide world before them, the safety of childhood behind them. Standing on this edge is a terrifying place to be, once crossed there is no going back. As terrifying as the advent horizon is, one must eventually cross it, and begin their adventure in a world filled with untold adventures, and treacherous pit falls. No matter how hard one tries to avoid it one must eventually enter this world; some must enter this world faster than others as a result of their actions. Once one starts to make the decisions that adults makes, they must be ready to live with the consequences of these actions, just as an adult does. Once a child has crossed the event horizon they are no longer a child, and must stop acting like one. This is a stressful time, especially if the elders in the family feel that the child has crossed that line too soon. It is stressful for the child as they have fallen into a world they are not fully prepared for. The natural reaction for the child will be to try to jump back into the world of their youth. As hard as it is the elders have to reject their attempts to jump back into the cradle. Life is a one way street: there is no going back. This is not an act of cruelty even though at the time that it may seem that way. This is an essential action key to the development of the individual. The longer it is put off the harder it becomes, the smaller the chance of the individuals success in life becomes. In these times of disembarkment the gentle push may feel like a cold hearted shove, in times of stress the fog of anger easily distorts this age old logic, morphing it to appear as cold hearted savagery. That is why it is important for both sides involved to remember the principles upon which a family functions. No family should ever cast its members to the wolves. Anger’s broiling fume can make it feel as though the family is casting this poor soul into a God forsaken abyss, filled with the tormented souls who have been doomed to spend eternity in a solitary existence. Remember that entering the realm of Adults, does mean that the days of youthful ignorance are over, gone are the days of being able to hide in the wagon when it gets stuck. The family cannot just carry you up the hill anymore. But that does not mean that your family will not be there to help you. They will always be there to help, what changes is how they help you. No longer are they going to load you into the wagon and pull you from harm. You have stepped out into the world and have begun building your own addition to the family, and must assume the responsibility that comes with that, you must start carrying your part of the family up the hill. If you become mired in the mud, or slipped down the hill, the family will help you, but you are beyond the age of being carried. Once you enter the world of adults, you must set an example for your family, and become a guide to prevent them from repeating your mistakes, and encouraging their successes. A failure to do so is a sin so incomprehensible that it defies this writer the words to do it justice.
Always remember that family is the greatest gift one can ever have in this world, it knows strength that no one person can have, but it also knows frailty greater than that of an infant. One must love their family, and one must care for their family, but more than anything one must always remember that they are but a part of the family and should have enough respect for it that they do not arrogantly expect the other members to make one’s way in this world for them.
No one person is perfect. No one individual goes their entire life without abusing family, or forgetting its importance. We have all made mistakes, and we will all continue making mistakes, constant harping on this fact will not solve anything. I know I have, I took family for granted. I assumed that it would always be there, that my family was different from everyone else’s family in that nothing could break us apart. I regret that mistake, but the past is in the past, and that is where it will always remain. Nothing can change it, no matter how much I may want to. This is a universal truth that all should understand, hiding from your actions does not change them; eventually you will have to face the consequences. We cannot live in the past, but that does not mean ignore it. We must learn from our past mistakes, and move forward, towards a solution to our problems. Silent jabs, as noble as the intentions behind them may be, are acts of aggression. They do nothing to support your argument; they do nothing to ease the tensions. When we allow anger to dictate our actions, we become something evil. The power of rage if phenomenal and addicting, and I know firsthand how easy it is to succumb to venomous grip. However, for all the strength, all the power that the forces of anger and frustration give you, they are useless, they do not have the power to create or to save, they have only the power to destroy. I have seen them destroy age old friendships, break up once thriving relationships between lovers, and now I am watching these forces of evil destroy the bonds that hold my family together. It makes me sick to my stomach to see how members of my family, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, are treating one another. Everyone thinks they have the right answer, and they are unwilling to yield. Each is trying to obtain the solution that they want, that they believe is right. None of them set out with malice in their heart. This he said, she said, that has dominated our family sense the outbreak of this feud has not served to resolve this conflict, and cannot solve our problems. One only has to look at congress to see that this fundamental principle rings true. I am a young man, and I do not pretend to know everything about the world. But I do know, from experiences in Boy Scouts that you do catch more flies with honey than vinegar. The best leaders in a Troop are the ones who hear both sides of the argument, and are able to rise above the conflict and use reason rather than emotion to solve the conflicts.
I do not know how to resolve the issues that are tarring apart my family. I do not know the magic answer that will bring peace to this war torn group. What I do know is that a house divided against its self cannot stand. How can we hope to whether the coming storms if we cannot learn to live together?
Both sides must be willing to admit that they were wrong. Both sides must be willing to give. Both sides must be willing to rise above the rancor that has been allowed to consume them, and work together. That means give and take. Most important of all, all parties involved have to throw aside the vain concept of victory. Setting out to conquer your family members, to make them yield, is a narcissistic quest of vanity. I would pray that everyone involved in this great clash can understand that concept, and would be willing to cast aside a desire for victory and personal glory in the interest of serving the greater good. If they are not, well then perhaps I have overestimated the strength of those members involved. Perhaps I have allowed myself to be fooled by the shroud of ignorance into believing that family is anything more than a blood line. My heart tells me that family means something. However, with each passing day my logical mind tells me more and more that I am wrong.
If I don’t get a chance to say it, Merry Christmas to you all.