I come from a relatively large family ... I am the oldest of eight children; seven of us are living and one sister died in 1957 of Leukemia. She was four years old and her name was Janice.
Once upon a time I believed we had a tight knit family but circumstances and time have shown me that's not the case at all. I have siblings who no longer talk to one another and until about 6 months ago, I was one who talked to all the others. Then one sister, for whatever reason, stopped answering my emails and phone calls. I wondered what I could have done and then realized, I haven't done anything to her, except try to help when I could.
This division began about 2 years before our Dad died and has continued for 11 years. We weren't all together when Dad took his last breath and we weren't all at his funeral. That will most likely be the scenario when our Mom or one of us dies. I have prayed for reconciliation and restoration but after a phone call with another sister today, I see that's not likely to happen and I'm trying to understand why.
What hurts is that I'm watching a family unit die ... as surely as our Dad did, a part of this family unit has also died and it makes me wonder if we ever had a real bond to begin with. We all have the same parents but apparently that's where the line can be drawn. Siblings don't have to get along, although they should. Siblings don't have to talk to one another, although it would be good if they did. Siblings don't have to be in the same room with one another, although it might be good if they were. Siblings don't have to really forgive, although that's what the Lord commands and would be healing if it took place.
I told one of my sisters today that we carry old wounds and hurts as though they were a gift of some sort. We wrap them in pretty paper and off we go. Before long the wound and the hurt is growing, getting heavy and the wrappings are getting awfully stained, but we don't mind, they're ours, so we'll keep carrying them. Month after month and year after year we carry them until before too long, we can't see anything but this huge package that's blocking our view of everything else.
Oh, we say we forgive those who hurt us, but we want nothing to do with them. We won't talk to them, we'll ignore any attempts at communication and we'd just as soon no one else brings up their name. Is that really forgiveness?
I don't carry the hurt that my sisters do ... I've had my own to deal with. Some have been life-changing ... they shattered my very being and shook the very foundation I thought I had. But after a while I saw the harm of my not forgiving the one who hurt me and knew I had to bury the hurt if I was to be of any use to my husband and my children. Bury it and leave it alone! I couldn't drag it back up, it surely would smell worse than when I put it under the earth if I did that. I had to forgive the offender for what he did. I didn't really want to, but I knew I had to if my life was to ever get better.
I'm seeing that for whatever reason, there are people who can't do that and I'm to show mercy to them, even when they won't speak to me. I will be the best sister I can be to those who will let me; and I will pray for those who don't want anything to do with me. And through a friend, the Lord has let me see that should they come around again, I must open the door and let them in without anger or malice in my heart, because that's what He does with us.