With Thanksgiving coming up and all the talk of having to spend time with a fractious family, I realize, yet again, just how blessed I am to have a super great sister.
Although my sister and I are often opposites, we decided long ago that we would “get along”, because family is important, no matter what. We all have a family- blood, friend, adopted, alienated, nutty. What we have to decide is: how important is this family in my life?
How do my sister and I match up?
Politically- very different. Left versus right. Conservative versus liberal. Once in a blue moon we probably agree but since we agreed not to talk about it, it just doesn’t usually come up! You really can have hour-long conversations and never once mention politics!
Different life-style. Hers gives me a glimpse of another way. She has been single for many years but is now in a new relationship. It’s good to remember what it’s like to be newly in love. Since I am 50 years into marriage, it causes me to think about love in a new way.
She enriches me. Do I enrich her? I hope so.
We both love God- in our own way.
We share many questions… and answers…. And some family mysteries that we’ll probably never figure out. We are interested in family dynamics. Although she is more interested than me (yes, I admitted it, Sis), it makes me think about things I’d probably not notice otherwise. That’s a good thing.
We both love cats.
We both read a lot- maybe born of wanting to escape an unstable, volatile father. Although I was into mysteries for many years, I’ve gravitated to more non-fiction, and that is what’s on her bedside table.
She likes movies. I can’t tell you the last movie I saw. (Oops! Not true. I saw “Hidden Figures” and loved it.) Of course, I like a good movie, but for her, it’s a “thing”!
Apple fritters- definitely a point of agreement!!
Lactose-free versus “there’s no such thing as too much cheese”.
As kids, she had black hair with soft curls. I was blonde with straight hair.
She is smart… with advanced degrees to prove it. Me? I don’t know. But she remembers me teaching her to read. I am 5 years older, started school when she was born! If I taught her to read, I must be ok, right. *wink* *smile*
She’s an international Leadership Coach. She’s good. She’s kind. She will help you! But there are times she says I coach her (I’ve learned all her best techniques!). We “coach” each other!
One more thing: My sister is a wonderful cook and puts a lot of effort into turning out some scrumptious meals. Me? I’m happy to get something on the table. Of course, I love beautiful food- especially if someone else cooks it, or if it’s easy to make! (I do make good gravy, thank you very much.)
So, you see, we have things we share as well as some areas where we disagree. It’s the things we share that are important. Listening to each other’s opinion and beliefs encourages us to think deeper, consider differently, read more widely. We don’t have to agree in order to like each other. We don’t have to be the same. We may not be “opposite” so much as “different”. Think how boring it would be if we were exactly alike. We love each other because we’re sisters, we like each other because it’s more important than being “Burger King” (having it your way!).
If I get a little annoyed about something, I let it go, allowing her her thoughts. (I will, however, challenge her if I feel she’s in danger. But even that is more of a nudge. I cannot save her from my perceived dangers.) I’m sure I don’t annoy her… hohoho. But she allows me the same grace, letting me be me (and gently challenging when she’s worried about me).
Not all relatives are as kind as Linda. Some only want to be with you if you totally agree with them, are in lock-step with them. They don’t seem interested in relationship or family or shared history. And that is so sad. If you want relationship without abandoning your own morals, they make it very hard. But it’s possible. Ask yourself… is it more important to have relationship or to be “Burger King” (like a petulant two-year-old stomping her foot and yelling because she can’t have it her way)? You get to decide what’s important to you.
Perhaps we, as a nation, need to gather together and ask the same question. We have a shared history. We are related by the blood of all the soldiers who died to keep us safe. Is it really more important to have it exactly our way than to work together for a higher cause? There are usually ways to come together if we listen, consider and compromise. To do what’s right rather than … well… be “Burger King”.
We might not be able to do anything about the entire country. But maybe we can bring some peace to our family. Do you have anyone you’re not too excited about seeing next Thursday? Is there someone in the family gathering that just rubs you the wrong way? If you plan ahead and decide how to be proactively kind, maybe you can make a difference. What will you do?
I will miss being with my sister next week. We’ll be with our kids and grand-kids and that will be lots of fun- not stressful! I don’t even have to do much cooking. My sis will be with her sweetie’s family.
My prayer is that you have a good Thanksgiving, that you bring a little more peace to a volatile situation and that your peacemaking will bring even more peace to the upcoming Christmas gatherings!
I hope you’ll share how you deal with family situations. I’d really like to know.
I also hope you will follow my blog. There’s a button on this page now- yay!! It’s right up there on the right…
Thanks for reading!
God bless you and Happy Thanksgiving!
(PS- I like Burger King fine. I like to “have it my way”! I am not saying anything derogatory about BK.)