We Don’t Have to Agree to Have a Good Relationship

With Th2016-11-21 21.21.40anksgiving 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.)

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November Thursday

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“It was November- the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad songs of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines. Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park, let that great sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul.” L. M. Montgomery

I’m not Anne of Green Gables, but I relate to this passage so much. Even though I can feel the fogs blowing out of my soul, at the same time, I feel them moving in. I love November, but it’s become a little tricky. I love the beauty of Autumn’s final gasp. I love, like Anne, the sun- both rising and setting- glorious. I like seeing tree bones, bare and sturdy, bracing for the hard times of winter. The trees throw off their fruit and leafy finery then hunker down in austerity for a season of deep rest… like the bear hibernating or the bird flying to warmer climates. I too feel a shedding. Maybe it’s the oppressive heat of summer. Maybe I’m shedding expectations, even in the face of glorious birthdays and Christmas expectations.

As a child, I was melancholy- not morose or depressed- just quiet, thoughtful, always spinning a tale inside my head. I remember happily spending hours swinging in the backyard, under a huge maple tree. Often, I would sing at the top of my lungs- loud and bold- believing no one could hear me. (How I would love to call Mama and ask if she heard me singing.) I would climb that big old maple, sit on a limb and make up stories while watching the birds. I’d even sing and climb when it was cold outside. I was told by a teacher that I was lazy because sometimes I sat alone at recess and watched the clouds. I still watch clouds. I don’t think I was lazy so much as regrouping. Introverts need alone time, ya know. I think being born in November has been part of forming that melancholy.

November has Thanksgiving (a favorite holiday), one son and a grandson were also born in November. I have 11 grandchildren but only 2 are boys… those boys are extra special. Not that the girls aren’t wonderful, mind you! ALL my grands are grandly wonderful!!

November is usually thought of as an ending, a winding down. But it can be both a beginning and an ending. An end of warm days and growing crops, the end of the year. A beginning of celebrations and then a season of stillness when the earth and, hopefully, our souls, regroup and restore.

I was born on a Thursday. Thursday’s child, according to the nursery rhyme, “has far to go”. I’ve always taken that negatively. There’s another way of viewing “far to go”. It could mean you have so many talents and abilities that you will “go far”. A slightly different turn of wording that produces an entirely different meaning. Rather than “far to go” (hardships and obstacles to overcome), “going far” becomes a long successful life with no limits. According to www.famlii.com, the latter is the traditional meaning for Thursday’s child- she has no limits. Interesting that I always viewed Thursday’s child in the more negative connotation yet traditionally it was meant very positively.

But now is the time! I’ve “gone far” in life, in age, and finally I feel like I’m beginning to find a deeper purpose to my life.

Interesting. November is the next-to-end month of the year. Thursday is the next-to-end day of the work week. Thursday is “yay! Almost the end of the week!”. But Thursday is also, “phew! I still have one more day to complete my work!”. My birthday is the 29th, the next-to-end day of the month.  I’ve had purposes throughout life but I’ve always had a nagging inside that I had something more to give. I don’t know what all that means, but I decided I’m taking it to mean NOW is my time. This may be the November of my life but I’m going to make the best of it!

Let’s not forget it’s getting dark so early… that isn’t fun. Another strike against my November-love.

And finally, November and Thursday have become tricky for me because my sweet Mama died in November- on a Thursday. On a bright and glorious day- crisp and clear as a bell with heavenly blue skies. The last brightly colored leaves were still hanging on the trees, making a vibrant, sparkling splash against the sky. It was my most “favorite-ist” kind of day. Yet it breaks my heart to remember it. She wasn’t supposed to die. She was supposed to recover from surgery, to get better, to feel better, to live longer. She was 86 but surely she had more years with us. My mother was a very special person- beautiful inside and out. That makes November very tricky, ‘cause, that was an awful time…in November.

Good and hard. Happy and sad. November and Thursday. Life is that way, a mixture of bright skies and brooding seas. Hunkering down or leaving town. Thankfulness and melancholy. Gains and losses. Sun and fog.

It’s the first Thursday of November, tricky, but still my favorite month of the year. This is a good day to publish my rambling.

God bless your November and God bless your Thursdays! And even in the fog or dark, keep looking for those blessings.

What do you think about November? How does it make you feel? Please share YOUR thoughts.

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