Family ties

Farmville Enterprise December 14, 2016

The reality TV show “Survivor” is our son Samuel’s favorite. It first aired in 2000 and each season a group of strangers is taken to an isolated location where they have to figure out how to provide themselves with food, water, shelter and fire. The few contestants who last to the very end, who have not been voted off, will have lived there for 39 days. The survivors compete in reward and immunity challenges and form alliances to try to stay in the contest. The other night the reward for Day 31 was the “loved ones visit.” Before being left in the middle of nowhere the contenders indicated their top choice for a loved one who would show up late in the game, if they made it that far. If they won that particular reward they would have been fortunate enough to spend part of a day with that special someone. Even if you have never seen “Survivor” you can probably imagine the emotions of the cast after a month of food and sleep deprivation and the gnawing feeling of hardly being able to count on a soul. The possibility of a respite with a trusted individual becomes much more meaningful than in everyday life.  Almost each loved one is a parent, a spouse or a sibling and this particular episode is always a tear-jerker. Some of the contestants admit on television that the relationships with those loved ones have not always been smooth or easy. Still, many of them break down on the show when seeing their faces. Despite the downfalls of knowing someone’s faults so intimately, there is generally something deep and almost inexplicable about family bonds.

During this Christmas season most of us will spend time with family members- those biologically related or those brought into the fold by affection. Predictably, the relationships are not always smooth nor are the holiday gatherings always without their ups and downs. There is no perfect family nor is there usually a picture-perfect family gathering. You and I are annoying to some people just as some are to us. I was visiting with a friend of my mom’s at Thanksgiving who said that their two adult children could never be in the same room since their relationship was so horrible. Sadly, that is the reality in some families. Despite our differences, and even if it seems to be largely the other person’s fault, we should try our best to seek reconciliation.  God can and will mend relationships when willing parties decide to humble themselves. The benefits are priceless. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14)


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