I envy families. A lot! I've talked briefly about my own family before here but not as the actual topic of a post. Tonight it is. It's hard for me to write about but I think it is important too. I've felt in religious life quite often that I don't quite belong because of my family history. Most of the sisters with whom I live and work view family in a very different way than I do. I should say, they view their own family's differently than I do. I think we have the same objective value of the family but our experiences are so different. A lot of sisters I live with can't imagine not being devoted to their parents. They can't imagine not thinking that their parents are saints in heaven... that they gave them their vocations.
Then, on the other hand, is me. My family is broken. I hate the way it sounds but it is the truth. Throughout everything that has happened and everything I don't understand still - I never thought that it would all come together like it has now in my life. God alone knew that that suffering I had to endure would prepare me to be the bearer of immense grace toward others.
I think the hardest thing about having such a dysfunctional family is the not-knowing. As the child, no matter the age, you can never fully understand the effect of, the sequence of, and the cause of the events which forever change your world view and your understanding of life and then somehow you must pick up the pieces. For someone as logical as I am - walking around with such doubts and insecurities is very difficult. Every day I remember something new that didn't click when everything was "under the rug." But now that my parents are divorced it sheds a new light on all the experiences I've had. I wish I could understand all of them but I know that there is no way for me to do so... so I must live with the unknowing.
Anyway... now it serves me well. The pain is still there and the discomfort is still raw... I imagine it will stay that way. However... most of my students have this same experience and I offer it for them. I share it with them. My co-workers share this pain with me and they come to me with their experiences of family strife because I understand... and I think it is a sad gift now that I have been given.
There is certainly a reward in seeing the heart animate a face which has found understanding in another person's heart. God is good in providing these loving moments of solidarity with one another to give the love that was lacking in other ways. Blessings are always around.