After some major self-reflection this last year I have realized that I take for granted those I love the most. My family, In particular, my parents and my siblings. I guess I just figure that they will always be there. Why wouldn't I think that? They have always been there in the past. That is obviously not the reality of life because my brother is now thinking of moving out of State and my father-in-law has recently passed away. What a wakeup call! We never know when our time is up. So live life like it's your last day. Take advantage of the time you have with someone and make it meaningful. Sounds good but how do you put that into action. After all life still gets in the way, we get tired, stressed, overwhelmed. Bottom line is it all comes down to relationships and what we are setting as priorities in our life. For me I am making my family more of a priority. I am consciously and intentionally reaching out to my brothers and parents to build our relationship. Texting, calling, early morning coffee, dinner. And when you have those opportunities to spend time together get off your phone. Be engaged. Phones are great for a lot of things but they are also disconnecting us on a personal engagement level. Be present and enjoy 'quality' time with those you care about the most. Don't take them for granted because someday they'll be gone - or you will. (I am preaching to myself here too ;).
This holiday season is a time for family gatherings and quite frankly some family members are difficult to deal with. But remember, everyone has their own personal issues they're dealing with and you just don't know what it's like for them. All you can do is control yourself and your attitude. It was said over 200 years ago that 'Love covers a multitude of sin.' So love them, meet them where they are - at their level, and be patient. You might just be amazed at how, in time, they will change after they see how you have changed.
- Steve H. Perrins II