Sometimes I feel a little guilty after writing about our family time at Bear Lake (the last two posts). I feel guilty because each year when I write I get some comments and also emails filled with awe about those relationships we are lucky enough to have. How did that happen? Did the stars simply align in the right way? Are there fights? Does everyone really get along?
The answer is yes, there are fights, and no, not everyone always gets along, but YES, the stars somehow did align the right way because no matter whether there are disagreements or misunderstandings, Dave’s family and mine are filled with people who strive to love unconditionally. Every single one of them.
I do not pretend to know how we got so lucky, but I do know that those parents of ours fought to make that happen. Our parents came from families who struggled. Dave’s grandpa was an alcoholic. Two of our parents were raised by single mothers. There is dysfunction on both sides. But somewhere someone made a choice to start anew. They decided they had the power to create their own legacy and they got to work.
This, of course, didn’t mean things would all work out hunky dory. That’s where the “stars aligning” business comes in. Because it is true that no matter how hard you work and love and forgive, and love some more, everyone has agency to chose, and sometimes people just don’t have the capacity to fight to make things different.
But I love the thought that Dave’s Dad shared in his BYU devotional a couple years ago and think of it often:
In his devotional he told stories of his heritage and how tough decisions and hard work changed the whole trajectory of his family (you can find the whole devotional HERE).
How grateful I am that it did!
Whether we are born into functional families or not, WE can decide “where our devotion will lie and to whom to look for guidance.” Yes, some have to work so much harder than others, but change can be made. And the beautiful thing is that that that change ripples to affect generations of families.
I’m so grateful our parents fought for that. And that because they did, they gave Dave and I an incredible gift as we work to create our own family. Do we come up against dead ends and all kinds of issues? Sure we do. But because our parents forged ahead, they have cut out many of the weeds and briars in our path. How I hope we can do that even more for our own kids. Oh gosh that is a continual struggle. Fights break out, huffiness ensues, everyone is, at one time or another, “the most annoyingest person in the world” (at least according to Lucy). And sometimes, in the dark times, it seems like for every step forward we take two back. But we are committed to keep working. And because we believe so whole-heartedly in a God who cares deeply about families, we are grateful beyond measure to feel His presence when we genuinely look for guidance and direction along this rocky path.
He is there. And it is only with Him that we can make it through.
I write about Bear Lake and our families because I am more grateful than I can ever express to be “enshrouded in a family.” And I hope that not only will my writing serve as a record for my own family, but that it can help keep hope alive that it is always a worthy cause to fight for strong families.
Even if we’re the first ones to forge the way. And even if it is against all odds, and we are barely hanging on by our fingernails.
So, if you are one of those who is fighting for family, fighting for relationships, fighting to forgive and to serve and to love as our parents did, and as so many in so many varying situations have written to me about over the years, may God bless you with patience and perseverance. Please know that even if you come up short again and again, you are fighting a noble battle. And in doing so, creating seeds of beauty for future generations. Just starting where you are.
The road may be ominous and rocky, but I believe our children and grandchildren and grandchildren after that will be forever blessed because of the blood and sweat and tears we put in the arena to fight to create a strong family.