heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 5 of 7: Beyond the olive branch

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“Family quarrels are bitter things. They don’t go according to any rules. They’re not like aches or wounds, they’re more like splits in the skin that won’t heal because there’s not enough material.”    

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Why can’t we all just get along?

People have been warring since the beginning of time. Tribes. Religious sects. Nations.

And, yes, families.

As I said a few days back, “It all begins and ends with Family.” How can we expect nations to coexist in peace and harmony when many of us can’t even manage to keep our families intact?

There are so many stressors that lead to family conflict: financial problems, joblessness, addiction, illness, death, inheritance and even something as basic as incompatible and/or strong personalities. It is healthy and normal to argue, debate and occasionally fight.  It is unhealthy and hateful to harm others – physically, emotionally, in their business and their reputation within society.

Problems rarely, if ever, solve themselves. Resolution (to problems) usually requires compromise, which inevitably results in loss (i.e. giving something up, to keep the peace).  If  there is love, respect and a willingness to work through the conflict – because of a deep-seated desire to keep the family together – then there is hope.  Sometimes an outside mediator, such as a therapist, counsellor or spiritual guide (i.e. priest/minister/rabbi/imam) may be needed to assist with the process of resolution and reconciliation.  Hopefully, the conflict gets resolved… without too much collateral damage.

“Problems are like washing machines. They twist us, spin us and knock us around but in the end we come out cleaner, brighter and better than before.”    

– Unknown

But what if we can’t all just get along? Not now. Not ever. It happens all the time.  Parents divorce. Children leave home for good, pledging never to return. Siblings each go their own way, losing all communication with each other. Family members become estranged. It’s sad, even tragic, when that happens.

I don’t have any answers. What I do know for sure is that family is fundamental to our well-being.  That said, for family to coexist as a united and loving unit… each and every family member must want it to be so.  Some people need time, space and distance to gain perspective and eventually reunite.

Alas, there are some families so fractured that they are beyond the olive branch.

And everyone moves on – each going his/her separate way.

Sometimes it’s for the better.

“Sometimes problems don’t require a solution to solve them; instead they require maturity to outgrow them.”    

Steve Maraboli

Some Book Recommendations:

Peace Catalysts: Resolving Conflict in Our Families, Organizations and Communitiesby Rick Love

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Mom Always Liked You Best: A Guide for Resolving Family Feuds, Inheritance Battles & Eldercare Crises Arline Kardasis and Rikk Larsen

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*Note: The title of today’s Blog – “Beyond the olive branch” – is the title of Volume 4 in my Baby Boomer Series™ of books (in progress

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

The halcyon days of summer

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
― F. Scott FitzgeraldThe Great Gatsby

As a child, I used  to love those quiet summer days when I’d lie down on the grass and gaze up at the sky, marveling at its perfection.  I’d close my eyes and feel the sun’s warmth on my skin, and listen to the gentle rustling of leaves from the large oak tree nearby.  I would lie there for hours, as midday became late afternoon.  Sometimes the weather would shift, surprising me, bringing with it a new set of  sensory delights. Mesmerized by the different cotton ball shapes, I’d track the movement of the clouds as the warm summer breeze caressed my face and I waited in anticipation for what was sure to come next:  the sun shower.  I’d laugh out loud as the raindrops tickled my skin, and stick my tongue out to taste the drops.  Before I could count the minutes, the shower stopped, leaving behind the fresh smell of rain. Then it was time for me to go inside for tea time with my mother. I’d jump up, shake the grass off, and — with the hint of a smile on my lips — I’d leave my peaceful afternoon reverie behind. There would be more summer days like that.  Plenty more.

Although those sweet childhood days have long since gone, I still enjoy summer days like that.  In youth, we take much for granted — not at all concerned about the passage of Time.  As we age, we become acutely aware of how precious each and every moment is.  We are grateful for each and every sense that we are blessed with. It becomes more important for us to look (and really see)  the beauty all around us, to listen to (and truly hear) the sounds that make us smile,  to breathe in and smell that first summer rain, to taste and savour a freshly picked apple, and to touch  the hand of a loved one (like it was the first and may possibly be the last time)

To live life as if Today is all we have, is to savour and love each and every minute.

Don’t put it off until tomorrow.