Summary: Part 2 of 3 part Survivor Series: How You are responsible to change the reality in your life and deal with conflict in your family.
Conflict In Your Tribe
It was a dark afternoon and the rain was coming down in big heavy drops...
The kids and I were on our way across the back roads to pickup Donna from her work setting up a new and not yet open Meijer’s store in South Dayton. My oldest daughter was a sullen and rebellious 16 years of age. For the last six weeks or so we barely saw her. She came home from school - hit the refrigerator and then shot down the hall to her bedroom. Other than an enforced presence at suppertime there would be no other evidence of her existence in the the family.
We would hear bits of music coming from the radio in her room. And we would get an occasional glimpse of her in the evening when she surfaced in the kitchen to grab the phone and stretch the cord around the corner and down the steps to the basement where she would talk for hours if we let her. Now she sat in the back of the van, separated and isolated from her sisters and me.
And the rain fell in big heavy drops...
I can’t remember what started it but one minute we driving to get mom and the next minute Shannon and I were in a heated argument. I was yelling at her and she was yelling back. Sandi and Susan were frozen in absolute silence, watching with eyes wide open as I lost it completely...
The conflict was loud and continuing. Salvo after salvo was fired across the seats, like artillery shells each word smashed into the other. Shannon screamed her frustration at me. I answered back loudly, my hand slamming down of the steering wheel for emphasis.
And the rain fell in big heavy drops...
We arrived early at the empty parking lot where Donna was to appear at the end of her shift. I slammed the van into a slot. Crammed the gearshift into park at with only a word to the occupants of the vehicle to "Stay put" I got out and began to walk across, around, and up and down the parking lot.
And all the while the rain fell in big heavy drops...
It took a while for me to calm down. The rain pouring down helped. The pacing across a couple acres of asphalt helped. Praying for God’s guidance helped even more. I was angry with Shannon. I was at a loss as to what to do to tear down this huge wall of discontent and rage in her.
Eventually, my heart stopped thumping, my pace slowed, the pounding rain had an impact and I returned to the van. I summoned Shannon and we stood under the awning of the store and began to communicate. She listened while I shared my hopes for her and the hurts that I felt. I listened while she told me of her frustration and doubts, her fears and her desires.
We agreed together that day that some things needed to change. I don’t remember all of the issues or how we worked to resolve them. I know that we talked about her going on a second missions trip to Venezuela. I know that we both agreed to be honest with each other about our activities and our feelings.
And I know that the rain fell …but the raindrops weren’t quite so heavy now...
Conflict is most devastating when it happens within the family.
We see it weekly now on "Survivor". We watch with curious amazement at how quickly strangers become bonded into a tribe - a family of sorts - and then turn on each other. The pain they feel is all too real and we relate to it - because we have felt it our selves.
The pain and conflict inflicted and felt in our families often creates the deepest wounds in our souls.
Like Hannibal Lecter in some families the conflict is so violent and destructive, the pain and conflict so bitter that it really cannot be described adequately - it can only be understood by those who have felt it.
Some here today can relate to and understand the memories of a man, today a husband and father of two boys, who remembers vividly as a teenager being grabbed by his shirt, lifted off the floor and held against the wall by his alcoholic father berated him. This same man can recall being told by his father only twice in his lifetime that he was loved.
Some here can relate to memories of a woman who recalls the years of sitting at home with toddlers, a sink full of cruddy pots, floors with a thousand toys strewn about. The pressure and monotony of the day relieved only by a husband that comes home to only to criticize and complain, eat supper, read the paper and then fall asleep watching football without a word of encouragement or gentle touch of affection.