I recently overheard an earnest mother describe that she has the ‘perfect family’ – the perfect husband, perfect children, a perfect life. I was impressed and thought my goodness, that sounds unusual and it had me thinking about what that could possibly mean. Did it mean that everyone in this woman’s family was well-behaved, beautiful, healthy, kind and loving with no problems, doing good in all their endeavours, and certainly no dysfunction, and therefore ‘perfect’? It sounded way too good to be true. I confess a little cynicism crept in, as how could anyone have the perfect family?
From my own experience and from general observation it’s clear to me that a ‘perfect’ family in which everyone is perfect simply does not exist. Looking around I muse to myself that if perfect people and perfect families do exist then what are they doing on this planet?! However, in a contemplative moment a thought occurred to me that this proud mother was actually not far off the mark. Every family IS perfect, but perhaps not in the way she was meaning.
We have to remember that the definition of a ‘perfect family’ is as the ego sees it. Perfection according to the ego is when our needs are met and when people are behaving as we would like them to. It’s when all of our little ducks are in a row and our needs are satisfied. When our loved ones don’t live up to our image of what they should be then there is resistance and in our humanness we are wont to try to change them or to fix them and when that doesn’t work we may even withdraw our love and affection. This is the essence of the ‘special relationship’.
My own extended family is large and scattered and is a kaleidoscope of different characters. Within a branch of my family ‘dysfunction’ is more prevalent than is ‘normality’ but I realise the label of dysfunction is that of the world, or society, as is the label ‘normal’.
In my immediate family we have very different personalities, we’re vibrant and loving, and life together is rich.. and of course we have had challenges. Over the years we’ve tussled with illness and messy, unexpected situations and dramas not for the faint of heart. As the world or the ego would describe it we are not ‘perfect’ or normal.
The Holy Spirit sees things quite differently however. Paradoxically, His Vision sees the ‘dysfunctional’ family (aka most families!) as perfect in a completely different way.
In my family (as in all families) we each have our own Atonement path, our own karmic responsibilities and we’re doing just fine, despite seeming ‘evidence’ to the contrary. In Truth there are no accidents nor coincidences, and we are all perfectly on track, and right where we have chosen to be. We have all chosen exactly the perfect family in which to learn that we are not who we think we are as bodies and personalities, that we are neither victim nor victimiser, and that we are here to awaken to the Holiness of our innate and eternal Spiritual Essence, and we have an Inner Guide who is gently and patiently assisting us.
‘What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past present and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good?’ TW.135.18
Our life is therefore our classroom and within that we have our own unique ‘curriculum’ being the relationships with the people in our lives. We are in relationship with these people as signposts and mirrors to each other, for our mutual healing and spiritual growth, if we will but see it that way.
As I have learned of it, my family have probably danced our dance many times before, in eons gone past, as all tread the horizontal time line of potential healing. We offer each other the possibility of the Holy Instant, the opportunity to ‘go vertical’, to heal our blocks to the Love within, and to awaken to our Holy Self. We face scenarios that have possibly presented themselves before – and here they are again, re-presenting the potential and opportunity for awakening to Who We Truly Are.
‘Trials are but lessons which you failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before, you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain which what you chose before has brought to you.’ T.31.VIII.3
Each person in familial relationships is unknowingly inviting the other to step into a higher paradigm; to deny ‘the denial of truth’, and to decide there has to be a better way, and to choose that better way. How amazing is that? The Course teaches us that ‘Only appreciation is an appropriate response to your brother. Gratitude is due him for both his loving thoughts and his appeals for help, for both are capable of bringing love into your awareness if you perceive them truly.’ T.12.I.6
Each person is offered the chance to answer the call for Love; their own call and that of their brother. Amidst family squabbles it may appear that some have not chosen that (and yes, it is difficult) but time is for healing and the script is written, meaning there is no way but the return to Wholeness, to God. It’s a done deal, and all IS well, no matter how it seems.
‘All things work together for good. There are no exceptions except in the ego’s judgment.’ T.4.V.1.
In my own extended family where people may at times be in conflict, where they may disagree over who did what and when and why, and where animosity is at times amped up to the max, I know there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can threaten or change the truth of who we are. We are all One.. unified always in Spirit.. and our essence is Eternal Love.
Jesus tells us in A Course in Miracles repeatedly, and precisely in the Clarification of Terms, that ‘Nothing you can do can change Eternal Love. Forget your dreams of sin and guilt, and come with me instead to share the resurrection of God’s Son. And bring with you all those whom He has sent to you to care for as I care for you.’ C.5.6.10
Family life includes times of despair and sadness, of sickness, conflict and distance, and even death. During these difficulties I find it most helpful to ask the Holy Spirit to help me hold this Truth – of the Eternal Love – in my awareness, and this I believe is the ‘care’ Jesus asks of us. My request is ‘please help me to see this brother or sister as you see him/her – beyond all physical appearance and behaviours, and despite all that seems so ‘real’ to me’. I ask Him to help me feel in my heart-mind the eternal connection with my brothers and sisters, my ‘family’ – a connection that cannot be broken by any illusion. And He does show me, and I am then aware that in reality my family is absolutely perfect, as without them I could not awaken to Love’s presence. We are all perfect for one another as we walk each other Home.
So with all this in mind, I’d say that that earnest Mum was really spot on. Her family is no doubt also absolutely perfect! ♥