How was all of the crazy family time? Ready to go live on an island by yourself? Isn't God, the commander of the cosmos, funny? He decided to come and join and heal our crazy by being part of a family. Mind blowing, right? I don't know about you, but if I were the King of the Universe I would be so tempted to come as the commander of my family and then make them all behave in a way that pleases me and makes me comfortable. But, that isn't the way family life works. My desire to pull my hair out or run to the hills is a reminder that I'm not a saint yet. It isn't a sign that something is wrong with my family members, or their pets, it is my fallen nature resisting the call to love. It is those people-disguised pieces of sandpaper rubbing off my rough edges. As a friend once said, "They're my sandpaper people!"
Maybe you're thinking, this girl claims to be Catholic? She's cruel and cold and hates her family! No, I don't hate my family. I don't think I'm cruel either. I actually describe myself as being perplexed because I don't understand how naturally I can love and be saintly toward a stranger in need, but the second my husband asks me to help him with something I want to shout back, "Do it yourself, lazy man!" Or how I would go to the end of the Earth to help a friend, but when my mother would ask me to help her with the trash I got snippy and teenage cranky! Aren't you curious why it is easier to love people that aren't our family? If someone would pay me to study this social phenomenon I would gladly do it!
The simple conclusion I can draw from my own experience is that I'm fallen, so is my family, and I'm called to be a saint! I'm called to be holy in my very day life! I'm called to be kind (regardless of how I feel), I'm called to serve, I'm called to love (regardless of what I think someone else deserves). It is easier to do this with strangers and friends because I'm not around them all the time. It is harder to do this with family because I'm around them more and they see my imperfections... and my pride hates that! The cure? Humility! I got a great prayer from someone recently and wanted to share it because it might be helpful at your next family gathering, "Lord, who are you? Lord, who am I?" It keeps the focus where it should be, and lets you love more generously and unconditionally!
If you were planning on going off to your own island for New Year's Eve consider throwing a family party instead, invite your best tools and rush your smoothing process along!