Friday, June 22, 2012

June by any other name...

I vaguely remember May, and thinking to myself "soon it will be June and I will be saying, 'oh wow, it's June, the year is already half over... where did it go'", and suddenly it's July and really, where the heck DID June go??

You know the thing about June being all "Weddings, Grads and Dads"?... well those were wedged in there: June 5th a wedding, followed by hot-footing it to Oregon for a graduation (which, ironically, we endured in a pouring rain), then Father's Day hot on the heels, complete with the requisite family BBQs, family reunion and all that.

But what we have that not everyone else can claim is a plethora of June birthdays. Yes, June has now come to overshadow October in the birthday department in our family, and that's saying a lot. So I officially now have one daughter, three granddaughters, two nieces, and a nephew all celebrating birthdays in June. Throw in a couple more for good friends and anniversaries for a few others... it should not come as a surprise that I barely came up for air in June.

Nevertheless, June got me thinking again about how thankful I am for my wonderful family and amazing friends. Marking these big and small occasions is really just another good excuse to express our love and appreciation for each other, to celebrate the presence of loved ones who enrich our lives.

Unfortunately, nothing brings that into perspective quite so vividly as the loss of even one of those. Sometimes loss comes in the form of death, at other times in the form of a leave-taking. The saddest, I think, is when a loss comes in the form of estrangement. So often, we let pride or insecurities get in the way of maintaining a relationship. "He said/she said; I am right/they are wrong", cutting someone off because they won't follow our advice... whatever, and on it goes.

June has traditionally been a month associated with love. According to one source, June is named after the goddess Juno who was considered the goddess of marriage. Not that I am a superstitious person, since I was married in September... but my point is: Life is short, people. Too short sometimes, especially when we have left "I love you" unsaid. Too short to put our differences of opinion ahead of treating others with kindness and dignity, and honoring their humanity. Too short to take sides, or to attempt to gather others to our side against another. This is how you tear down a relationship, not build it up. There will come a day when we will shake our heads and admonish ourselves, what was really so important that it got in the way of my relationship with that person? Are we seriously so insecure in our selves and our opinions that we cannot allow someone to have a different opinion? Are we so sure that our advice is indeed the best advice for someone, when we don't even know the entire situation they are dealing with? How arrogant we can be!

To steal some points from Ken Collins, "when we read the phrase 'love one another', we immediately think that this commandment is limited to... Christians."... "'What Would Jesus Do' is not a Christian question...rather, we should ask ourselves, 'What would Jesus command me to do?'...and that consists of loving [others]."

Bottom line, I love my family. It pains me to see the people I love at odds with each other, but I am rather at a loss of how to change anything. I guess it comes back to being responsible for myself, making sure I am doing what I know is right, and loving others in spite of their shortcomings... forgive and hold no grudges. So easy to know what to do... so hard to follow through!