This week I’m away for a week-long silent retreat, so no homily (some parishioners are happy). Please pray for me!
In the meantime, I’ve been meaning to share this wonderful reflection I read a while ago by a friend, Fr. Don Larson, pastor of All Saints parish in Coquitlam:
“Friends of mine are getting divorced after 34 years of marriage. It is a painful situation. But what has really shocked me is the fact that not once in those years did they even tell me they were having marital difficulties.
I went to school with the husband since Grade Six. We dated twin sisters. I was best man at the wedding. Yet throughout their 34 years of marriage neither he nor his wife gave me any hint they were having problems.
This is so wrong – people not talking about things at the proper time, people being unwilling to share their personal struggles with their friends.
The same thing can happen in families. My mother died in July at the age of 100 and only now am I starting to realize there were many things we should have discussed but did not, things which could have deepened the closeness of our relationship. In time I hope to have that “conversation” with Mom.
Why do we fail to speak at the right time ? Are we persuaded it won’t do any good ? Are we afraid to rock the boat ? Or are we too busy to even think of what ought to be said ?
Whatever the reason, much harm is done by the failure to share our thoughts and feelings at the right time.
Sharing can be difficult
I am not naïve, I know that sharing our thoughts and feelings with family or friends can be difficult. Our sharing is not always well received but the alternative, not sharing, is even worse.
Not sharing sets up barriers between people. It traps our thoughts and feelings within us. It can lead us to adopt fixed behaviours and understandings that stifle the warmth and sincerity of our relationships.
When you do not tell your husband that certain of his behaviours make you feel unloved you deprive him of the opportunity to change and you gradually become resentful. You can start to see yourself as an “unloved wife.” In time this fixed attitude within you can become an enduring obstacle to improvement in your relationship.
An act of love and hope
God has reached out and shared with us not only his thoughts and words but his very life. This self-sharing was the great act that reconciled those who had been mortally alienated (God and Man). It was a creative act of love and hope that was intended to change us and bring us into closeness with him.
That is what sharing with others is intended to accomplish – the infusion of creative hope into our relationships, the possibility of change and growth.
Let’s not avoid self-disclosure but take a risk on sharing our hearts with others. God can use these opportunities to breathe life and healing into constrained friendships and marriages. Let’s not run away, let’s talk.”