A serene Sunday afternoon preceded by learning how to “fight right” at church and including an impromptu viewing of a “Mary, Mary” marathon and an Unsung on “Midnight Star” about families working together and some falling apart lead to an interesting conversation. The dynamics of family can only be orchestrated by a God who was determined to make us trust in Him, see our own flaws, embrace others as humans and set our sights on the bigger picture. The problem is, sometimes family can put us to the test like a doctorate level dissertation.
I’ve heard the notion that friends are the families we choose. That may be true, but what do we do about the family we didn’t choose? You know you wouldn’t necessarily be friends with all of your family if you weren’t related, but you are so regardless of what you do or don’t have in common, whether you grew up in the same types of environments, whether you laugh at the same jokes, or think the same way you’re stuck…LOL! So what do we do within ourselves first about family that may be completely different from us, may not understand or relate to us, or may have varied purposes in our lives? What happens to the people who, at the end of the day were a part of our life’s journey for a reason and will always be in one form or the other? We know all the things that can tear us apart as families: death (especially after the life insurance check or funeral), money or the lack thereof, jealousy, sibling rivalry, different personalities, influence of in-laws, growing and going in different directions, not living up to expectations, lack of compassion for the people with blood just like ours, big elephants in the room and plain ol’ not getting along.
But, what can be done to keep us together or bring us back together after a breach, shift in roles or change in season? “Mary, Mary” and “Midnight Star” were not only family, but had million dollar music businesses connected to each other. Watching their relationships unfold or unravel gave me chills. Many of us don’t have money on their level to contend with, but our relationships are just as valuable or else we wouldn’t be connected. Seeing the struggles of those two mega-groups, and knowing my own family challenges throughout the decades I have to wonder what God truly desires of us in order to be a family. I also wonder what He has in place to help us stay a family regardless of how things looks as long as His purpose is being fulfilled.
So what do we do? I’m the first to say I don’t have all the answers, but I know at the heart of it has to be communication. Yes, it sounds cliché’, but talking things out tends to work things out. Approaching family with open ears and open hearts has to help. Realizing that every family member has important input and knowing that at the end of the day it’s all about teamwork makes it possible for each member to know his/her position and be more comfortable in that role, especially in times of trouble. “Mary, Mary” is still hanging in there. Thank God! “Midnight Star” went their separate ways, but has found a way to forge ahead. Thank God! Watching the story of both has reminded me that how you handle the business of family can mean the difference between a lasting legacy and a dying dynasty.