Thursday, January 3, 2008

An "Interesting" Conversation

Happy New Year, one and all! And may all your resolutions come true!

New Years Eve, we spent as a family eating Mexican food (to take care of my poor father's Mexican-food needs before he has to return to a land barren of Mexican food, talking, and playing games.

At one point, my brother brought up a tradition we used to have as a family that we partook in most nights at the dinner table. This tradition involved each person at the dinner table having to say the most interesting thing that happened to them that day. While it, occasionally, drove me nuts as a teenager, it really is a great tradition to have.

So, in a variation of the former tradition, we each said (in order of youngest to oldest) the five most interesting things that had happened to us that year.

While some of these "interesting things" overlapped, it was fascinating to hear each person's perspective on what their year has been and what has stood out to them. Some compliments were passed around (actually, we all "picked on" my little sister after she gave her five things by going around the table saying what our most interesting thing about her year has been. Given that she graduated high school, moved back to the USA, left my parents as empty-newters, and is now living in the same town as both her brother and sister for only the second or third time in her life - her year has impacted all of us quite a bit!), some tears were shed (what can I say - the female side of my family can be quite emotional!), and much love and hope were expressed.

Four of my Five Most Interesting Things of 2007 were:

1. Making a major, career-change decision at the beginning of the year that has worked out so amazingly; truly an act of God. I left a job that I was really good at (teaching), where people didn't want me to leave, without any idea of if we would be ok financially, where I would work, etc. And stepped straight into a job that fits my personality very nicely, put me into an environment and people who have been wonderful for me, our finances worked out way better than I ever thought possible (once again, that whole - God subtracts and yet somehow winds up with a bigger or stronger number in the end thing?), and I know that I am truly in the middle of His will for me.

2. Getting to know my little sister better as a person. When she was born, I was seven, and quickly went into the whole – she’s cute but somewhat annoying phase. Then I moved into the whole, I’m a teenager and obsessed with only my life phase. Then I moved out of the house, to a different country, and while we have a relationship, we never really knew each other very well. These past few months have changed that dramatically. And it’s been great!

3/4. Going through the situation with my husband’s family and realizing several things.
3. My husband is truly an amazing man. I have watched him, over and over and over again, find himself in a spot where he has to choose what he becomes and he has always chosen to make something more of himself. Even as we have gone through periods of grief and all that the grief-cycle entails, he has come out stronger in the end. He seeks after God’s will, and is humble enough to recognize his own faults and his own problems areas that he needs to work on – and then works on changing them. I saw this happen in our marital relationship early on, and as this whole nastiness has gone on with his family, he has simply continued to grow and develop more and more openly into the man that I knew was there. I am proud of my husband even if it has taken hurt and frustration to get to this point.

4. This ties into my first Interesting thing and number three, and actually, I saw this as a common theme throughout everybody’s comments. This is a lesson I have been aware of my entire life, but this past year has really brought home the truth and reality of this to me. God is in control. Even when things seem so confusing, out of control, hurtful, pointless, painful, whatever you want to call it. He is always there. This situation has brought my husband and I closer together, we know it has brought us closer to God, we feel that we are finally getting a glimpse of what God has in store for us for our futures, it has caused us to begin to root out of lives certain behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes that are not right and not what God would have us live under. And it has begun to help us put new, strong, roots deeper and deeper into the foundation of God. Do I like the circumstances under which all this has come about? No. Are the years of tears and hurt and anger worth this? Definitely. Do I pray that reconciliation and understanding will come to exist within his family? Absolutely. Will we continue to grow in God and become stronger people and family together if it doesn’t? I pray to God, we will.

I love traditions like this; things that bring together a family. Not expensive, not flamboyant, but sharing of ideas, focusing in on one another's lives, learning to see each other in a new way.

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