Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Where is my party?

We have been talking lately at church. Drifting. I brought up the parable of the prodigal son, which on first reading is nearly a tale of resurrection-- the lost child is found!! But how many of us have homecomings like that? Even if we have forsaken our family, do we return in one day? Or is it a slow process of learning our issues were not as divisive or our family was not as heartless as we thought, where we start with the occasional good memory and eventually reach the occasional phone call?
More to the point, how many of us never physically left the presence of our family, like the jealous older brother? Where is our fatted calf and grand party? A friend sent me this from his daily devotions:

Family dynamics are a strange thing.  It's funny but in what I do outside the home, I feel at peace and justified and ready to take joy when others do better than me and never feel short-changed when I think others do less than me. I teach Sunday School every week without a break and with complete joy. I attend Choir where I cannot sing and happily celebrate the beautiful voices of my friends. I even see my baked goods going unsold at the fundraiser while my friend's goods--using MY recipe-- are sold in seconds, and am happy for us all. Yes, I get twinges of discontent, but they are easy to shake off and let go. I never take it personally for more than a minute.

 Yet, at home, it's a different story. I see someone expecting praise and encouragement for doing something once when I do it everyday without even acknowledgement, and I feel unappreciated. I repeat the same instruction every day and it falls on deaf ears, then my child comes home, reporting this wonderful lesson from her teacher, who is SO clever. Exactly, word for word, what I have been saying. I want to scream! My husband, asking why I waste so much time on my crafting, then two months later seeing a craft stall and telling me I should be more like this woman who puts proper effort in. I'm sure I dish out similar injustice to my family. I know I am more impatient with my own kids, and have lower expectations. 

I love my family, and they love me. But it's so easy to drift away from people you see everyday. We treat strangers with more consideration than we treat our family, our 'good mornings' are cheerier after we leave the house, our 'please' and 'thank you' easier to say. It's so easy to feel like a drudge, a disappointment, an inconvenience, an annoyance, a martyr.  And so easy to treat our family this way, being too lazy to notice how much or how well or how sincerely they are in our lives. And we forget that we are privileged to eat together, wake up together, chat together, work together, play together, everyday together, with people we care about us and who love us, who also forget that it is a privilege.