I recently heard a pundit say that there's more violence in America's living rooms than on America's streets. That may or may not be true, but what I do know is that it can be easier to talk about peace in the Middle East than it is to address making peace in our own families. I'm fortunate that I come from a loving and intact family, yet we still have our differences. Like many families in the 21st century, mine spans several different religions and a wide range of political views. Plus, we have plain old individual quirks that can drive each other nuts from time to time. There's nothing like the holidays to bring all of that into the forefront.
It wasn't until I was in my 30s that I discovered a powerful weapon for keeping the family peace: Intention. Rather than approaching the kitchen table with trepidation, just waiting for the first jab or disagreement, I realized that I could approach my family with the intention of bringing peace. I could stop focusing on who loved and accepted me and who didn't. I could resolve to simply love and accept every person at the table just for their quirky beautiful selves. I could stop waiting for love and resolve to be the Lover.
That lesson was solidified for me when my father was sick with cancer and was driving us nuts recounting the same stories over and over again. I realized that even though it was irritating to hear the same words again and again, a time was fast approaching when I wouldn't be able to hear his voice at all. So I learned to say, "Yes, daddy, I love that story. Please tell it again." And then I would listen to that voice I had known since childhood, its tone and timbre, and try to memorize its song. I still miss his voice at Christmas these 10 years later.
I go now to the family table, bringing food and a few small gifts and especially bringing my intention to love. May we be happy. May we feel joy. May we be at peace.
And may you, my online friends, be happy. May you feel joy. May you be at peace.