After two weeks of holidays, I've had some highs and lows that I would like to share with everyone.
Firstly, I've discovered that Christmas is Christmas for families whereas New Years Eve is Christmas for friends. Both are important for bonding with those you love and having the opportunities to confront those you love even more, which is even more important.
Secondly, I've found that all families are virtually indestructible. However, that being said, I've also discovered that no families are invincible or invulnerable to the less flattering sides of life (i.e. depression, alcoholism, grief, illness, poverty, anger, lack of communication, ad nauseum). The preceding contradiction is explained like this: no matter what goes on in a family, what sorts of negative energy gets thrown in the mix, whether it be an alcoholic who bottles their anger and never reaches out or a child perceived as perfect and chosen by their siblings and has the arrogance or ignorance associated with that stigma, regardless of these traits, it takes all but death to drive virtually any family apart. Whether someone has been shamed once or a thousand times, at the end of the day, the family will always stand in some capacity. It may be a shell of what it once was, but it will stand. The amount of work needed to make it a tight-knit family... that's the biggest variable. The harsh realization of growing into an adulthood of some form is that, when you can see the bigger picture, you realize your share of the work is much larger than you ever thought. Some kids are thrown into this at a young age, pushed by the negativity and negligence of their parents, but some people don't understand this concept, due to their selfishness, until their 20s, 30s, or even their 40s. Some people don't even realize the responsibility they have until after their parents have passed on. The bigger picture is remembering your family's values and traditions and upholding them to the best of your abilities, for better or for worst.
Thirdly, forgiveness is essential to one's well being. I've recently had the good fortune of reconnecting with someone who is very special to me, but wasn't always. As a matter of fact, while I think hate is too strong a term, I had a large amount of fear and loathing for this person. I've been working very hard to forgive myself and, as a consequence, them for the misconceptions I've had and the ignorance I've taken on in my heart about such things. Forgiveness truly is one of the aspects of love, which I believe to be the salvation of man.
Finally, communication is amazingly powerful when employed and terribly destructive when neglected. From experience, I've lost some of my best friendships by introverting and keeping my thoughts and ideas to myself. Conversely, I've maintained some of my worst friendships by simply allowing my friend to communicate with me and vise/versa. This holds true for all relationships, including friendships, family relationships, and romantic interests. The more communication is in place, the more likely something will succeed. Simple fact.
I wrap up this blog with words from Richard Bach's book "Illusions", and I'm sure I've quoted it before on here: "The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof." Final summation: talk to everyone, those you love and those you don't. Understand where they are in life, and help them to understand where you are. When these lines of communication are opened, all of the other problems you have will have outlets to flush themselves out. Share your respect and joy with others, and grow together, regardless of where you're growing.