Lenten Trial

March 12, 2011 § 4 Comments

Really, the title makes this sound much more…dire…than it actually was. As I have said before, and especially in my entry on Lenten sacrifices and goals, I have had a problem with a certain family member which inevitably leads to a deep feeling of rage and hurt. These emotions are exhausting to harbor all the time. I wanted to be able to be in the same room with this person and not provoke an argument for the sake of forcing out an apology that I know now will never come.

Today was my first day seeing this family member since Christmas. I behaved rather well over Christmas, but I was deluding myself into thinking that I might receive a sincere apology. After one never came, my hurt feelings were doubly hurt, my anger boiled over, and I refused to see this person.

Until today.

I am extremely tired after a family BBQ (which was a lot of fun and even included a beer tasting…more on that later), so this will be another rather short post (you’re welcome). But the gist of the encounter was this:

Hey, Amanda.
Hey, ______.
Are you having fun?
Yeah, I am. How was traffic?
Pretty horrible. We were stuck for a while.
That sucks. Well, welcome now; we’re glad you made it safely. Get yourself a plate and make yourself comfortable.

And then later, at the beer tasting, we chatted about how disgusting one beer was or how delicious another one was.

And that was pretty much it. You know what the funny thing was? I didn’t feel that bubble of rage building in me as I had in the interim when I didn’t see this person. This time, it was just sort of a matter of course. We would see each other, we would talk a little, everything would be fine.

No, we didn’t delve into deeply personal topics (hell, we even stayed away from what things we’re doing to keep busy these days). We stayed on rather neutral topics–traffic and beer–but I think that’s what helped. Because we stayed neutral and did not even tiptoe into personal topics, we were able to keep a safe distance from each other’s feelings and potentially start rebuilding that bridge.

I do think our relationship is forever altered. I do think that I will not ever open myself up enough to trust this family member. But we are going to be in each other’s lives a long time (’til death do us part, and all–you know that applies to your spouse’s family too, right?), so it’s at least worth mending the bridge enough so that we can be sincerely civil toward one another.

And the best part about it?

I feel better.

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