…because I’ve been reading In the Spirit of Happiness again. And if you haven’t read this book, you really should read it. But anyway, I’m reading along in the chapter Asceticism and Life, and I was planning to write a lovely post about doing church/being church, until something smacked me upside the head.
I’m leaving on Sunday, bright and early, for a trip to California for the eighty-somethingth Family Fourth of July barbeque. Dad’s expecting a small turnout this year, since the 4th is on a Wednesday, so he only bought meat for 75 people.
I’ve been dreading the trip for weeks now. Because I’m Going Home, and when I get there I know exactly what I’ll face: judgements will be passed, former wrongs will be remembered, barbed compliments will be tossed around with the kind of deadly accuracy that only family can achieve.
How do I know this is what’s going to happen? ‘Cause that smack upside the head came in the form of a mirror: that’s how I act when I go Home. I moved away to grow up, but I’ve clung to my childhood (childish) behavior tooth and nail. I fall back into my childhood (childish) role because it’s so easy. Much, much easier than forgiveness. Much, much easier than humility.
And a whole fucking lot easier than unconditional love.
I’ve been blessed beyond measure with a good family. They’re not saints, by any stretch of the imagination, but in wandering this world I’ve seen families that are a lot, lot worse. All four of my grandparents are still alive, and most all of my cousins and godsibs are people I enjoy hanging out with.
I wonder, now, how much time have I lost by cutting myself off from them?
Please pray for me, ’cause changing 27 years of behavior isn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, going to be easy. And please pray for all who travel this coming week.