Thursday, February 24, 2011

Family Crisis

I have heard it said that a family crisis can either bring a family closer together or it can tear it apart.  I believe this to be a true statement, at least from my personal experience.  Our family has gone through a crisis, let me rephrase that, our family is going through a crisis.  The details of the crisis are not important, the fact is, no matter what the crisis, a crisis is a crisis and it turns our world upside down.  Every day brings a new challenge to either keep fighting or to give in to the temptation to fall apart.

I have heard stories of families who have gone through different crises, a medical crisis, job loss, a daeth in the family, etc., etc. and have listened with fascination to these stories and the toll it takes on families, particularly the parents of the families.  Crisis can literally make or break a family.  As I have heard these stories, I have often wondered about my own family, my own marriage, and how we would fare.  Would we become quarrelsome adversaries, or would we lean on each other and pull together to strengthen the family unit?  I wondered this, all the while hoping we would never have to be put to the test of a real crisis.  I mean sure, we have had our blips, I have had to have a couple of major surgeries, our kids have had some out of the ordinary, though not terribly serious, problems along the way, but nothing a record book would call a true crisis.  I hoped I would never have to experience one, because I wasn't sure if we would be able to survive it.  I was optimistic that we would, but one never knows for sure until tested.

Tested we have been.  These past several weeks have been some of the most trying times of our lives.  I daresay the most trying, and it's not over yet.  I expect the worst is behind us, but there are still several rows to hoe before we lay down our tools on this project.  My husband and I, as leaders of the family, have had to set the tone on how the family will get through this crisis.  In so doing, I have found that, although we have argued about some details of the process, in the end, I believe that we have each determined our roles, have seen the bigger picture and have rolled up our sleeves to get working.  I further believe that we have found within ourselves, more than we ever thought we had.  More of a lot of things, more strength, more patience, more flexibility, but most of all more appreciation for each other and what we have built.

No, our marriage is not perfect, nor is our family, neither as individuals or as a unit.  No one is, and furthermore, perfection should never be our goal, since perfection is impossible and if we expect that, either from ourselves or from other members of our families, we will continually be disappointed.  What we can expect from each other is 100% participation and loyalty.  We can expect that each person is not only dedicated to making their own contributions, but also to helping everyone else achieve his or her goals.  Though sometimes it humbles us to admit we need it, and to accept it willingly, we can expect ourselves to accept help whenever we need it, from friends, from professionals, or from other family members.  No person is an island and their is no shame in saying - I am drowning and I need help.

I will let you know when it is all said and done how my family fared, but as of today, it looks as though we are going to make it.  That is my sincerest hope and prayer.