Surprisingly, it was by far the most pleasant car trip we've taken in a while-- thanks in part to the steady stream of cartoons my hubbs kept rolling on his laptop. Who says technology doesn't have its advantages?
I love my family, but family gatherings can be a source of anxiety for me. My goal for this trip was to be as pleasant as possible. I didn't want to be overly sensitive to the remarks of others or knowingly pick any fights. Honestly, I didn't completely succeed, but that's another story for another day.
After a great conversation with a family member that I don't always see eye to eye with, I realized something. When I think about my life, I am the dynamic character: always changing, growing and learning. But aside from those in my inner circle, I unconsciously think of everyone else as a static character. They're all destined to be defined in my mind by some past behavior, impression, or attitude.
Thinking this way, especially about family members, creates an odd sense of stability. I know where everyone stands, and no matter what they do I can mentally keep them in their assigned categories. It makes loved ones one dimensional and easy to define and stereotype.
It makes it easy to give up on family relationships and think, "That's just the way they are." It makes it easy to stop praying and believing that change is possible. This mindset leaves no room for empathy or understanding another person's unfolding story.
Thankfully real life is far more complex, intricate, and nuanced than the novels I love so much. Everyone is living out this rich tapestry of thought, experience, work and worship. Together, side by side, we are changing and growing day upon day upon day.
When changes take longer than I think they ought, I'm quick to give up hope and pronounce the tree dead. Instead, I'm learning that sometimes the roots grow deep before a bud pops out onto the surface.