The holidays are a time when we gather with family and friends. Sometimes those gatherings bring up feelings of pain and regret rather than delight in seeing our loved ones. We are reminded of the loss of loved ones as well as the disappointments and disagreements of the past. Thus, the holidays are often more painful than joyful for some.
No family is perfectly happy. When we reflect on relations with extended family, some baggage is bound to have developed over time which makes those family gatherings a bit strained. It’s kind of hard to avoid, isn’t it? Over a lifetime, there are so many interactions that some are certainly negative. There are those arguments and misunderstandings that just can’t seem to be resolved because we are too stubborn to let go. Or maybe the pain is too profound to release just yet. And it’s a two-way street: Perhaps one person is ready to forgive and move on while the other is hanging on to that grudge and hurt.
Sometimes, we have essentially taken separate paths and no longer have much in common. We’re left with nothing to talk about but the good old days. Then there is that competition that can grow between us. Jealousy can rear its ugly head when we see how a family member has reached success while we may be struggling in some way.
On the flip side, we have those close friends who are really more like family. We aren’t bound by blood, but we have a lifelong bond that seems inseverable. We get along so well that we wish we were related.
So, this year and every year, it’s really a mix. I’ve had time to visit with blood relatives as well as old friends who are like family to me. I’m grateful for them all, good, not-so-good, and in between. They all make up part of who I am, where I’ve been, and where I’m going. And there’s always hope that the argument will be resolved, the misunderstanding will become clarified, and the pain will diminish the next time we see each other.