“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.” (George Bernard Shaw)
As we celebrate the wonderful feast of the Holy Family, we sometimes are tempted to compare ourselves to the bond of love shared between Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and find ourselves feeling a bit inadequate. Anyone who has ever been in a family, and that means all of us, probably has an amazing mix of the positive and the negative, the successful and unsuccessful, the joys and the anxieties, the mistakes and the graces.
It is important especially in this year of mercy to remember that our family, however we define it, is the starting point of living mercy, the school where we experience the gift of unconditional love and practice the art of unconditional forgiving. It can at times fill us with darkness and pain, with memories that cut us to the core, but it can also be for us the ultimate arena of growth as we learn to accept ourselves and those we love even when mistakes are made.
It is the excitement of the challenge to help those who will come after us to realize that the basic unit of society, the family, is an amazingly resilient reality that, at one and the same time, could overwhelm us and also make us feel like dancing.
When real love occurs, as it did for the Holy Family, we can sustain the journey of life even when we don’t know where the road will lead. We can learn to trust the journey, even when grief and sorrow might befall us. We can learn to trust each other, even when at times we know we must face aspects of the journey alone.
We are family, for better or worse. Thank God we have each other.
Sincerely, with love,