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Posts Tagged ‘Exodus 20:12’

Day three on the east coast, again meant spending some time at a certain coffee shop, for their brew and their wi-fi. Now wouldn’t it just be hilarious if I come to the east coast, home to a total of eight locations (province wide), and I get hooked on Starbucks coffee? I live in an area with a population of only about 94,000, and there are eleven locations (at one intersection there is one on three of the four corners).

On these two days I have had lunch with another sister in law, helped my mom learn how to order digital photos from an in-store do-it-yourself kiosk, had a wonderful walk and dinner with a friend that goes back to elementary school (and really, I did come all this way to see her 😉 ), and taken many pictures of houses and scenery that will be used in a future post.

Since I am at my ‘growing up’ home, spending time with my parents and extended family, I have been doing a significant amount of ponderdering family dynamics, and extended family relationships. I can and have griped about my family (and I am confident that similar griping goes on, in my absence, by them about me … after all “I took their grandkids away from them … ” GAG!).

But, a few years back a bit of reality hit me. How I treat my parents, how I talk about my parents, how I show love (or not love) to them and for them … is seen and heard by my kids. It is the example of how to love your elders that my kids will learn the most from. I can tell them how to love their elders, I can show them how to love their elders by how I love other people, but what they will learn from (and parrot) most keenly, most naturally, is what they have seen and heard from me, about my own parents.

Yikes, that is pressure (after all, it is my kids who will choose my care home for me when I am old).

And not only is it pressure, but, sometimes it is forced (kind of like when our own kids say and do things that truly give us understanding of why some living creatures eat their young, and we have to love them anyway … I think you hear what I am saying). It is forced, almost … a command, like a commandment (similar to the one about parents not exasperating (Ephes. 6:4) or embitter (Col. 3:21) their children … just sayin’).

All joking aside, it is a commandment … the fifth (Exodus 20:12), as a matter of fact it says, “to honor your mother and your father, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Now I don’t know what land God is giving to me … I have moved a few times, and I expect there are a few more moves to come. But I am not sure that ‘land’ in this context necessarily means land. I think that maybe it means place, location, culture, context … family.

” So that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” … Personally, I have days where I really do not care if I live ‘long’, but knowing that those days are given to ME by GOD … well that just makes me not want to waste a single one. Each day is a gift, and tomorrow … well we do not know if that one is being ‘gifted’ to us, until we get there. So, each day, I feel I need to remind myself that the the land or family I have been given (by God) is temporary, and I do not know how long it has been given to me for. And so, I need to be sure I am utilizing and making good use of each gifted day I get with my family. I cannot waste a gifted day holding a grudge (not that I haven’t done that, and won’t do it again, and again … especially with hubby … in the future). How my family feels about, or treats me, is immaterial … I am responsible only for me, and how I honor and respect the gift given to me by God.

Now, some people have, lets be honest, terrible families, terrible parents. Maybe there were abuses, neglect, abandonment. Maybe your parents were only a good example of what NOT to become. Honoring such a parent seems to be impossible, even cruel. But the command is not to honor your parents IF they didn’t embitter or exasperate you. There is no if (it also wasn’t to exasperate and embitter IF your kids don’t honor you … just sayin’) in the commandment.

I am not saying that ANY person, of any age should subject themselves to harm in any way, to obey this command. What I am saying is that sometimes, honoring that sort of parent is to not follow their example … parent differently, love differently, live differently … and don’t do to them that they have done to you (in case you didn’t notice, that is the ‘golden rule’ worded differently).

If your parents were mean-spirited … don’t follow their example

If your parents were abusive … don’t follow their example

If your parents neglected you … don’t follow their example

If your parents abandoned you … don’t follow their example

Sometimes being a different adult, being a different parent, being a different son or daughter (to them) than they were to everyone around them, is the best way to honor them (along with yourself and everyone around you).

All that said … I want to ensure that each of my ‘gifted’ days is utilized honoring, not abusing, abandoning, neglecting or abusing. Because that is the model I want my kids to grow up seeing as, not just good, but normal.

I have a feeling it might have more benefit than just teaching my kids something good. I think, I hope, that the greatest benefit will be that I come to the end of my days with no what ifs, no regrets (or at least fewer). And maybe even a better understanding that my parents were once MY caregivers …

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