Welcome to A Life Examined

What is the examined life? A life worth living! As I look at the road ahead, I take all the baggage from the past and use it as experience - the pain and the passion, the sorrow and the joy - allowing it to carve wisdom into my mind and hope into my spirit.
There is no experience that can't be useful to me at some point in my life. There is no lesson learned that cannot make a contribution to the future.
A tiny drop of water is a part of the ocean. A tiny speck in the night sky is a ginormous star in the distance. It all depends on perspective.
So, this examined life is to offer reflections in the hope of discussing things which are of value to myself and to others.
Love, Sarah






Thursday, 13 February 2014

Forgiveness - Part 6

Sibling Rivalry.

There are a lot of things that siblings can argue about when they are young. I believe parents need to guide their children to love each other, to get over the hurdles, and to teach them how to respect each other so that when they grow up they can be friends.

I have a friend who has three siblings. With both parents gone now, they make every effort to spend quality time together, even though they don't live in the same city. That's beautiful to see.

It isn't like that in all families.

I was the youngest of two children. I remember my sister being forced to wear the same design of coat that I had. It was embarrassing for her and I felt sorry for her, even though it wasn't my fault my mother sometimes chose identical clothes. I remember her being given a classical guitar when she wanted an acoustic one. I felt sorry she didn't get what she really wanted. Things seemed to go that way a lot for her, while I seemed to manage more often to get what I wanted.  At least that's how I think she perceived it.

My mother usually blamed her for arguments between us, siting her as the elder who should know better. It wasn't my fault my mother scolded her, but I think she blamed me.

When there is more than one child in a family there is bound to be some sibling rivalry. How that is grappled with is really important. My mother had no siblings so she wasn't very well equipped to teach us how to love each other, though she sorely wanted us to.

We can take our families for granted. We can wish they were different or, as I sometimes did, imagine we were adopted so that one day the reason I didn't fit in would be discovered and my 'real' family would embrace me and I could escape the isolation of the current family.

Instead, those of us who feel like misfits, muddle through childhood, and jump into the garden of freedom as soon as possible, only to discover life, with all it's complicated relationships, isn't so ideal after all.

I wonder if my sister thinks I had it easier than she did. We both had our traumas growing up and our disappointments. I remember observing her struggles, but as I was younger, I didn't know how to show empathy. I wish I could have. That might have made us closer. Instead, I can't help thinking she compared my disappointments with hers, and finding hers the more challenging, concluded life treated her more unfairly.

Forgiveness is realizing the past can't be changed and accepting the circumstances and people of the past for what they were. Although there is a gulf between my sister and me, I forgive myself for anything I did to provoke it and I forgive her for not seeing me for who I am now.

Readers, if you have a sibling (or three), may I encourage you to reach out to them and show them love, grace and acceptance. If they are your friends, that is such a wonderful gift! But if they've hurt you, while you may not want to give your trust away, perhaps you could ask yourself what it is you expect from them that they haven't delivered. You may discover they weren't able to give what you'd hoped for, not out of carelessness, but out of ignorance or innocence. And that recognition will give you room to begin to forgive.

As tomorrow is the calendar day to express love, I'd like to share a heart or two with you, hoping love and forgiveness today will bring you joy and freedom tomorrow.

Heart to Heart by Sarah Tun


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