It has been said that families either pull apart or pull together when tragedy strikes. I am part of a family that shattered, irrevocably. But, I believe there are always rumblings of what will happen well before tragedy rears its ugly head.
You see, my grandmother had a beautiful lesson when people in the family got married. They were given two china teacups and told to treat their marriage like fine china. You can’t handle it roughly, and if you break it, it’s possible to glue it back together, but it will never be the same.
I like to think of families in the same vein. They’re like a foundation. If allowed to crack over the years, sooner or later a strong enough storm will blow in to destroy the house. In families, every snide word, every mean action, and every hurt feeling and bruised heart results in a crack in the foundation.
When the storm blows in, and cracks have gone neglected, the house caves in, the family shatters, and tragedy is blamed.
Yet when apologies are provided, and forgiveness is given, the cracks in the foundation repair themselves. Unlike china, cement can be repaired and still be strong. In fact, repairs to concrete are surprisingly easy to do for long-lasting strength.
When the storm blows in, and the cracks have been repaired, the foundation stands strong and the home survives. Tragedy is credited with making the family stronger.
In either case, tragedy holds no power. Calamity is not what causes strength or failure. It didn’t shatter my family, and it didn’t build yours. All it did was serve as a catalyst to showcase how we all cultivated our relationships over the years.
If your family is still young or hasn’t shattered completely yet, I beg you: mend the cracks. Apologize, even if you think you weren’t wrong. Forgive, even if you still hurt.
Treat your marriage like fine china. Treat your family like a home’s foundation. Be kind, be gentle, be merciful. And just maybe, your home will still be standing.
A portion of my family shattered. But I will spend the rest of my life making sure the remaining family repairs the foundations of our relationships. One day, the home might even be rebuilt.