Saturday, January 1, 2011
Thoughts on Healing and Relationships
Healing is an amazing thing to witness. To see the power of God working in loved ones' lives and to see how He can change hearts and circumstances to allow His love to overcome years of anger, hurt and misunderstanding is like watching spring bloom after an especially harsh winter.
I've been blessed to see such healing occur this past week. It's not my place to give the details of the relationship between my husband and one of his sons (Aaron) but it's been interesting to watch them get to know each other and go from being careful about each word they say to relaxing and having fun with each other. Six months ago I wouldn't have thought this reunion would have been possible, or that it would have turned out to be such a fun and enjoyable experience. Honestly, I would have been somewhat afraid that they would both let anger get the best of them and ruin their chance to build a bond for at least a few more years. I've been pleasantly surprised by how Aaron's attitude and demeanor have changed over the course of the last few months, though. Aaron has found a lot of comfort and healing in his faith and has worked hard to forgive and let go of many of the things that have continued to hurt him and make him so angry. The timing of his visit was perfect. We have to acknowledge God's hand in it and express our tremendous gratitude for such an awesome blessing.
As I was blessed to watch and listen to my husband and his estranged son work on re-establishing a relationship it struck me that the pain/hatred that caused David's ex to tell his sons that he had left them (and implied that he didn't love them) has hurt their sons far more than it could ever hurt David, who I would assume was the target of her anger. I caught myself thinking "How could a mother who loves her sons not want them to take pride in the man who fathered them? Wouldn't you want them to know that they were loved by him? Isn't it healthier for them to feel that they gained some positive attributes from him?" In the next instance it hit me that there have been too many times when I've made snide comments about my husband in front of, or even to my daughter. I had never realized how much damage I could be doing without even meaning to. It's sad that it often takes seeing someone else's pain and suffering to better understand how your own actions have affected others. Needless to say, I'm going to make it one of my New Year's resolutions to build up my husband in my daughter's eyes and do everything possible to show her that he is a wonderful, faithful, hardworking man.
I've also noticed that most of what we see as anger in other people is really just pain. They've been hurt in one way or another and for whatever reason are not able to release that pain and heal. As time goes on, instead of diminishing, the pain seems to build and take on new dimensions, and the easiest expression is usually anger. I know that we often get angry at our loved ones not because of something they are currently doing but because it is bringing up painful feelings of something that hurt us in our past. Anger tends to be a vicious cycle that perpetuates the pain. That's why it's so wonderful to see healing start and watch the anger start to abate.
David and I both made some tremendous mistakes when we were younger. Those mistakes have had far-reaching and painful consequences in many instances. Even in those cases where we did what we thought would be best for someone else, it often caused a lot of hurt. I can only thank and praise the Lord for His mercy and grace, that He has taken these mistakes and somehow made it work out for the best. We can see now, with the benefit of looking back, that some aspects of growth and healing probably would not have happened if we hadn't made the choices we did. God can truly take the worst situations and use them for His purposes and create something wonderful out of it.
I don't know if there is anything more beautiful in this life than two people deciding that loving each other is more important than their own individual beliefs, perceptions, and past hurts. To be able to forgive, move on, and build on the foundation of love is one of the greatest gifts we can give or receive.