Faith & Worship: Love and forgive the imperfect

Published 8:00 am Thursday, August 23, 2018

For the last nine days, I have been on “vacation” at my mom’s house in Southport, North Carolina.

On the one hand, this has been a great vacation. On the other hand, there has been a lot of “family” on this family vacation.

My family is certifiably crazy. Not my wife, mind you. She’s the sanest person I know, much more stable than me. 

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The problem is all the people who are related to me. I wish I could blame this on my wife, but, alas, it’s my brothers who are crazy. One moment, we are all having a good time, and the next moment, we are all in the Twilight Zone of unredeemed family dynamics.

One brother is telling me what a bossy know-it-all I am, and the other brother just thinks I’m an idiot. The next moment, we make up and kiss — until we can’t stand each other a few minutes later. 

On and on the wheel of unredeemed family dynamics spins, until I’m so confused and saddened by what my brothers and I have said to one another.

I’m sure that all of you, my dear readers, have completely normal, loving and sane brothers and sisters who all love one another in perfect harmony and lift you up with loving and deeply caring conversations.

If, however, this is not the case, then you, like I, have probably wondered if you could trade in your deeply flawed family members for perfectly perfect siblings.

Alas, the dream of trading in deeply flawed family members for perfectly perfect family members is not possible, and is ultimately not even good for us. While I would love to have ideal siblings who always understand me and “get” me, this would mean that I would lose the brothers that I actually have and love. It would also mean that I would lose the people who are best at pointing out my own shortcomings to me.

While my brothers frustrate me to no end, they are my brothers, and I want the best for them, even when I can’t stand them or think that they are screwing up their lives with bad decisions.

In many ways, Jesus kept telling his disciples this very message. Don’t worry about finding perfect disciples to walk with; rather learn to love and forgive the imperfect disciples with whom you walk.

You might struggle on this walk, but it sure will be interesting, and you might even learn a thing or two about love, forgiveness and redemption.

– Father Robert Ard, Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross