Thankfully, we took a lot of photos while at Sannich, B.C., so I can temporarily console myself with an abundance of photographs.
As stated in my previous column, last week I traveled to northern British Columbia to put my mother’s ashes to rest. It was hot there also and forest fires filled the air with smoke and caused the main highway (Yellowhead 16) to close the day I left. The cemetery ceremony for my mom was short and I was expecting only immediate family to attend. To my surprise a lot relatives attended, as did some close friends. It reminded me of the importance of family which is often downplayed these days and not given the priority that it should have.
Too often families are broken as marriages fall apart and each spouse directs their energy into finding, courting and securing a new mate. It all seems fine until a person takes a close look at the children involved and the impact it has on their lives. I have often heard people talk about broken families and state how the children of divorce grew up fine and went on to be successful. While this may be true, there is a lot more to the story when the lives of the children involved are closely scrutinized. Divorce and broken homes have a far greater impact than most people realize. I know this to be absolutely true because I am the byproduct of such an environment! It was a self-examination of my life and the motivating factors behind my actions that provided me with considerable insight into my own life – it took brutal honesty and a willingness to open my heart to concepts that my mind had dismissed many years ago. While society does not approve (but tolerates) a liar, it is far easier to lie to oneself. Trust me, it’s also easy and very convenient to believe the lies that we tell ourselves.
It reminds me of the movie A Few Good Men in which Tom Cruise portrays a lawyer defending two marines at a military court martial. As he interrogates a witness, Colonel Nathan Jessup, he emphatically states, “I want the truth!” The colonel, replies, “You can’t handle the truth.” Wow – isn’t that how society chooses to deal with the cold, hard truth on matters of the heart? When it comes to family matters, it is far easier to give a gray answer than deal with black-and-white truth which (as I said earlier) takes brutal honesty with oneself, then family members and friends. Anything less equates to living a lie which I did and then dressed it up to make it look good to myself and others.
In my teen years, I had a stepfather who adopted four children as his own and did an amazing job. I also had a biological dad who worked hard to re-establish a relationship with all his children after a messy divorce. My fathers’ actions and mine have caused me to do a lot of soul searching, especially after the death of my mother last November.
My feelings on the matter were summed up in a song that was included in a playlist when my mom’s ashes were placed in a columbarium at Burns Lake last week. The song titled Hold Us Together is performed by singer-song writer Matt Maher (check it out on youtube). I loved it from the moment I heard it in 2010 because it has a catchy tune and extols the importance of using love to hold relationships together on a daily basis. It offers a real solution to relationship problems which must also include forgiveness (preferably on a daily basis). As a youth, I learned well that unforgiveness will destroy any relationship, but when allowed, love will rebuild it and hold it together.