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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Guarding the Southward Winds

The unforeseen impacts of change don’t necessarily mean there are none. As the life of a family rolls through inevitable change—a word that’s often so grossly cliché—whether it’s brought on normally or abnormally, it’s fascinating how the people affected grapple with and resolve their issues (or whether things are really grappled with and resolved at all.)

Life’s grand and common purpose, at a practical level, has to be about maintaining balance, surely.

It’s no different in the family context. As change occurs interminably in life, at all situational levels, even the subtlest change can swing family balance sharply off course. This can even be in the midst of what most term as positive change. Positive change brings unforeseen negative impacts just as negative change brings some unforeseen positive impacts. At the extremes, weddings have sadness’s and funerals too bring their joys.

The southward winds, as in a chart indicating southward movement of the line as a negative, blow in without much prediction at times. We stand back a few days hence and wonder what hit us.

Each member of the family is affected in their own beautifully unique way. Each one at a discreet age and stage, the flux is hard to predict. The trouble is, as parents, we need to not only identify the need, we also need to attend to it, and promptly. Then, of course, we have our own needs to deal with. It’s a complex, messy situation.

The only heart to draw from in this is everyone’s family has to deal with blows; some more, some less. We’re not that isolated.

One thing I’m grateful for learning; afresh it often seems… is the insight for being raw and real, as well as ruggedly vulnerable, in my approach as we begin to deal with these little things that seem so large. It’s almost a comfort to identify issues at source though the tears stream down cheeks without damming; tears of overwhelming relief… finally that the issue’s out in the open, recognised.

Certainly a lot of little things add to the enormity of the struggle. Anxiety becomes us in a flash. And little things in hindsight are not little things when they first appear. Beach balls are necessarily huge. They compel us to act or worse procrastinate.

The southward winds threaten as surely as we least expect them. They compel the family to be (or become) resilient, to find ways to proactively sweep through, take charge and foster family unity through the little or large depths.

We scarcely remember, but should never forget, the philosophy of south-wind change:

“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?”

—Kahlil Gibran.

Sounds weird, doesn’t it. But it’s the truth. We overprotect people to their peril. Yet, it’s a quiet, humble ear, a hug and kind eye that wins the future. It’s only afterward we can see the pain for what it is.

Families share, most of all, not only the victories and memories, but the sorrows too. The best families don’t deny the sadness of change. It defines them.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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