Joy is most elusive in the context of family.
We silently endure the unspoken pain of this irony. Home has turned to anything but sweet. Bitter is perhaps its sustained hymn. The curse of Genesis speaks well.
My own journey digs deep from throwbacks that makes no sense. I thought I had a pristine childhood. Time reveals the warp that impregnates all our living rooms. I had to endure nights of bickering while seeking to drown my parent's incessant chatter on infidelity.
I always thought of our family as iconic. We were deeply respected. What was unseen, however was never suspected.
The allure of duplicity crept unawares during my father's midlife. They call it crisis. I name it hell.
My mother's heart bled with confusion as she'd confide about father's lies. I did not quite understand why I ignored her while staunchly defending father's reputation. "No, he could never do that ... I know him," was my constant apologetic.
It was one night when I got home from some unscheduled visit. The phone rang and my father's mistress was on the other line:
Miss Tress: Hello, Tom ... Hi Sweetheart!
Me: (stunned ...) uh ...hello.... I couldn't quite hear you ... who is this?
Miss Tress: This is ... Carol...
Me: (doubly stunned ... my mother's name is Carol) oh ... so how are you?
Miss Tress: Aren't you coming tonight?
Me: .... This is not Tom ... this is his son .... (click)
When the frame breaks, the heart follows. The organic corruption exempts no one.
If it were not for the rescue of Christ's grace, I would have remained incarcerated with despondency.
Following Christ introduced me to a new set of family.
The Church is both mystical and actual. Without its weight, there is simply no way for us to take joy seriously within our fragmented relations.
My parents got divorced ...
... but the depth of Christ's intervention is beyond measure.
Before father died, I had the staggering privilege of officiating their remarriage.
Go snap the group-selfie!