Its almost such a deep and muddled subject that sharing can be uncomfortable, even unbearably painful. Not because we don't love our families, but because their presence in our lives works as a light shining on all of our frailties that can remain hidden to the rest of the world. With family you will never forget from where you have come.
The good and the bad of your life are shown on those screens which are each one's memory. Tensions can mount as we are reminded of why we do not like ourselves. Most often it is not because the others are wrong in their perceptions, but because they are right. Each one somehow affected by who you are and who you have been. Sometimes the line between the two becomes blurred as we feel tied to the perceptions of those who know us best.
Mountaintop experiences, humbling spiritual growth, maturity that comes with age---all fall away as we face those who have known us the longest. We can feel like children again as we look at the faces who have brought love, but also ridicule. Hurts of a lifetime can cripple. Ones who knew who they were before, lose that sense when with family.
Those are the reasons that "dysfunction" is the word so often associated with families today. Are there any of us who have never felt the brokenness of that union with the ones from whom we come? What else can there be when it is simply a compilation of sinners trying to live together?
Parents.....sinners. Children.....sinners. Not one perfect in any way, yet forced together by birth, marriage, adoptions, etc. At the beginning of each relationship hope reigns high. Time passes and age brings with it the wrinkles and spots as expected. Each relationship becomes a combination of loves and hurts. We hope the good will out way the bad. We hope the maturity will come in time before more bridges are burned.
Acceptance of each other brings us together year after year. Knowing each other's failures, but also becoming more aware of our own. That in itself allows for fellowship which continues in spite of the "dysfunction".
God in His wisdom planned this out so long ago when He created families. He knew the dangers inherent in placing sinners in such close proximity to each other. But He also knew that it was not good for "man to be alone." For all the difficulties of learning to live together, the fear of being alone is worse. And so we look to Him for the grace to age each relationship with love. That as we look to Him we will find less dysfunction and more peace together. Strengthened by each other as we can be by no one else.
As we see ourselves in the memories of others, may we have grace to give that memory to Him Who sees and loves us in spite of everything. Then may we share that grace with the others. May we be as kind in our memories of them. Each one, a work of grace that we are allowed, and yes, called, to love. Lifting each other up, thankful for the treasure of memories together....the good and the bad. For how would we ever see the growth if it were not for those mirrored memories?