Seeking Oneness in Families

This past weekend my grandson Noah married the love of his life, Christine. What a precious day! Two families coming together, enjoying the process of discovery, each appreciating the other. It wasn’t a big affair, but there was so much good happening.

The wedding party was large, but how could it not be with bride and groom coming from large families. Early in the ceremony, we were delighted when Noah’s 2-year-old nephew, Skipper, brought the box containing the rings forward. He was lured by his Uncle Micah with a promise of candy to deliver the box. After he did so, he sat on the sanctuary step with every intention of staying. His dad had to come forward to scoop him up.

There were some rituals during the ceremony including a sand ceremony that I’d never heard of before. It was explained to me that the families of origin (the moms) pour sand into a jar representing foundations and the couple then pour colored sand into the mix representing the unique way the new couple would build on that foundation. After the vows, the parents of both sides came up and formed a circle of prayer with the couple. We were not in the circle to hear what they each prayed for the couple but those of us in the congregation were able to support them in prayer.

During the reception, Noah called all married couples to the dance floor and, as we danced, he began eliminating couples one at time. “If you have been married one year or less, sit down…” Then, “Five years or less…” “Ten years…”etc. Bernie and I could see that the moment would come when we would be standing on the dance floor alone. As we danced, we argued about how long we’ve been married. We weren’t quite sure. We finally decided we would say 53 years even if it wasn’t right.

I want to share with my readers something about this special event that touched me more than anything. Christine was an adopted child. Some time after she was being raised by her new family, contact was made with the birth mother and a relationship began between her and Christine’s adoptive family. She was there and when Christine’s father was asked by the minister “Who is giving Christine in marriage?”, he responced, “Her mother, her birth mother, and I.” Later after the initial couple’s dance the bride and her father danced together alone, At one point Kevin stopped and signaled to someone in the back to come forward. For a while, no one came, but eventually with more coaxing, a man came onto the dance floor to take Kevin’s place. I was told that this was Christine’s birth father who had also been invited. There were many tears shed at that moment, including my own.

My mother’s and dad’s families both experienced brokenness. In our history there is a case of a child being born out of “wedlock” and given to an aunt to be raised. The child grew up not knowing the truth and who her birth mother was. We’ve had our share of addictions and all the pain that goes with it. There were rifts over money borrowed and never payed back. One relative was ostracized when he married outside the family religion. There are so many different reasons brokenness occurs in families. Bad decisions are made and innocent people suffer. Sometmes, parents are young as they start out and in their immaturity do some pretty poor parenting that causes harm to their children. In some families arguing and fighting is the norm. In today’s world, such troubled families are often referred to as “dysfunctional” assuming that their problems are out of the ordinary.

Should we then assume that a “functional” family is one where there are no such struggles or relationship ruptures? I don’t think so. I think all families have problems but not all families have the capacity to deal with the problems in a healthy way. They may lack communication skills and self-awareness, for example. I have seen families where these skills were developed later in the families life when they could deal with old hurts, forgive one another and move on. In the case of Christine’s family moving on means more than forgetting or forgiving. It means drawing in, creating a circle of love where you might not expect one to ever exist. In my understanding of God’s will for us, this is exactly it…moving toward Oneness and Love.

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7 Responses to Seeking Oneness in Families

  1. Cathy Hartle says:

    Great story, Judy! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Debbie louison says:

    beautiful story Judy! A wonderful read/ thanks for sharing it!!
    Love your writing!

  3. Pat Toschak says:

    Yes it is all about drawing the circle of love bigger!!

  4. Marie Zapf says:

    I love the story about the wedding. So special and memorable for you and your family.

    But I am perplexed as to why you shifted from something so happy and joyous to talk about ‘dysfunctional families’. The world hasn’t changed and is filled with good AND bad.

    Sometimes people with good intentions and decisions are literally destroyed by the reality of being taken advantage of by manipulative and toxic people and/or situations.

    When you speak of birth mother’s, alcoholism etc.; I tend to refer to the bible and not judge anyone. The Bible says, “There is no one righteous, not even one …. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit” (Rom. 3:10-13). God can see our hearts and intentions and He alone can truly judge us accordingly.

    In the end, I pray for those who feel that they have gone astray or erred and try to remember ‘You who have not sinned cast the first stone.’

    And remember; there are ALWAYS two sides to every story.

    • Judy says:

      I am sorry if there seemed to be judgment in my story. As for my shift from the positive to the negative, my posting is about what Christine’s family taught me about possibilities in families. In my family I saw brokenness but I also saw repair and reconciliation. I am a by-product of this. I live it within myself. I am full of gratitude because I cannot avoid the problems that come with living this earthly life. No one can. That is my point. But we can keep them from destroying us or our relationships. Simply put, it has to do with willingness to take the higher ground. I have a 12 step program that not only helps me do that but insists that it is necessary. The outcome is positive relationships and inner peace.
      In my writing, I almost always launch from a life experience when sharing my thoughts about life. Not all writers share the experience that did the teaching but I like to do that. You are right, however, that I could have shared the delight around my grandson’s wedding as a posting on its own. I used Facebook for that.

  5. Rita says:

    Wonderful story, Judy.

  6. Kathy says:

    Beautiful Judy. Thank you. Love, Kathy

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