With over one week of hindsight, I can say with great confidence that my family and I experienced one of these 'Pivotal Moments' last week! Here is the synopsis:
Knowing that our son was preparing to head back across the state to college after months of being home, I was somewhat craving and longing for one of those 'touchy-feely' family nights. You know where we can all decide on a movie or activity and thoroughly enjoy it together, and laugh, and enjoy each other's company. Ya know...the hopes and expectations we create in our heads, and if we're not careful, let ourselves become disappointed when they don't turn out exactly like our mind imagined them?...but I digress...
I ran to the store and came home pleasantly surprised to find consensus on a movie choice and everyone waiting for me! My hopes stirred! That is, until minutes into this movie, some depictions and scenarios were so 'raunchy' that it at once sent me into that 'parental' mode of righteous disgust about what we 'had to endure' to get to the 'good part' as one of my kids kept telling me.
The next thing I knew, my spirit was filled with unrest and even anger, and I became reactionary, which of course led to me saying words that should not have been...some hurtful. One in particular shocked even me and I will never forget the look on this family member's face after I said it. I knew I was in a 'pivotal moment' right then and my next move would have lasting consequences for either good or significant damage. Thankfully by the grace of God, the Holy Spirit overcame my fleshly and ugly response, and I broke... I mean, I BROKE!
I suddenly began sobbing and fell to the floor at this family member's feet and sobbed and wept in their lap, crying out how sorry I was and that I didn't mean it at all, and begged their forgiveness. What then followed was an outpouring of some of my deepest unspoken worries and fears as a husband and father in these current days and in this season with my family. All family members present heard, as I poured out my heart in complete and transparent honesty. To be honest, it was almost a surreal moment.
What followed was some of THE most beautiful and healing interactions I've experienced with my family members in a long time. I don't want it to sound like we were living in 'crisis' or at odds with each other, because that was not the case. Yet, we all know the areas of tension we harbor in our relationships, that sort of lay below the surface, and we keep them 'covered' for long periods of time. They lay there and fester and at some point, a triggering event causes them to burst through the surface into the openness of the relationship and then you're forced to deal with it. Can anyone relate?
There was weeping together, acknowledgment together, forgiveness, reconciliation, and all the TRULY deep and meaningful stuff of relationships, that I was longing for, that would never have come out had I not been broken down again through adversity that forced the issue. I acknowledged to my own family how weak I felt and then one family member said to me (the target of my wounding words), "Actually Dad, I have never seen you MORE strong that I'm seeing you right now!" An incredible wave of freedom and burden came flying off of me, as I realized once again that absolute and profoundly ironic and mysterious truth of the Scripture from 2 Cor. 12:10, where Paul says..."for when I am weak, THEN I am strong."
We were able to actually then 're-group', laugh, and release all that was wound up inside of us, and enjoy the rest of the movie, which turned out to be an OUTSTANDING movie and story of grace, mercy and triumph, and had I let those short moments at the front end (that depicted the brokenness) I would have missed it! Folks, we live in a broken and messed up world, and we all need mercy and grace to survive, and we all (preaching to myself) have to lighten up and allow God to help us deal with ourselves humbly and honestly...it's a daily fight, but through this fight, comes the rest we all long for.
To be continued next time...