Some of us who are gay unfortunately have had negative experiences with our families. I know some gay people that were kicked out of their homes when they were teens, others whose partners are never welcome in their family’s homes. I myself was told by my brother around this time last year that I was a spiritual detriment to his family and that he needed to protect them from me. Gratefully I also know families who welcome their gay sons and daughters and their partners with open arms. How blest are they indeed!
Whether we are gay or straight, people sometimes have difficulty with their family. Family issues have a way of coming to the fore around this time when, traditionally, families gather. If you are one who has issues with your family, take heart. Even Jesus‘ family had some issues and his genealogy certainly contained a few characters! I can only imagine what Mary and Joseph’s brothers and sisters must have thought of their nephew at times! No one is really immune. It’s just a part of life.
I think its important, especially this time of year, to have some sense of family, some sense of belonging, particularly for those who have difficulty with their own families. Perhaps it might be a time to look around. Is there someone that we know who is without a sense of family or belonging? Like the One who welcomed all to the table, perhaps we might invite them to our tables. And if you are one who is alone, one who has been rejected, know that you are not rejected from the Divine table, but are embraced in love – no matter what your family, or even your church family may say!
This morning after prayer and meditation, I read a section of Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now. At a coffee shop recently a friend of mine saw me reading that book and said: “Are you STILL reading that book? Haven’t you finished it yet?” What I’ve been doing though is just reading a little bit everyday, kind of like a daily meditation. This morning I continued reading his section on relationships and how to deal with stress or conflict.
For any of you who are partnered, I highly recommend this read. Any of us who are alive and breathing have relationships, whether they be partners, family, co-workers or friends. Conflicts are inevitable. Tolle gives some great direction on how to deal with those situations when someone starts getting on your nerves. He speaks of getting outside the ego, and approaching the person from a place of inner “presence.” When we have our judging ego out of the way, we can peacefully point out things to our partners, friends or co-workers. By doing so we remove judgment and emotionally charged response. Of course, if the other person isn’t present and is in their ego, they will probably get hurt and react in some way. It’s important for us not to get our ego back in the picture by reacting in turn. But if they are awake, they will be able to simply listen. Conversely, when someone points something out to us in a non-judgmental way, we will simply be able to listen without judging or reacting.
Some great advise, I think, for living and loving well. I’ve got a ways to go in getting my ego out of the way. But this is a great tool to have and to practice, instead of allowing emotional reaction to run amuck!