Monday – February 16, 2015: ‘Real’-Life

Mark 9:7-8

7Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” 8Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.

Jesus was a good son, who never behaved in any way to cause his father anything but pride: he was obedient, loyal, and he always sought to do the next right thing in his life.
So it is no surprise to hear that his father in Heaven loved him; after all how could it be hard to love such a perfect child?

I am a bit of a geek about some things, for instance, I have been a big fan of (most of) the Star Trek series of shows since I was a kid. The other day I was watching Star Trek Voyager on Netflix, and in this episode the computer generated (hologram) doctor had decided to create a family for himself, so he could understand more about what it meant to be human.

The holographic family he created was perfect…too perfect: his children were attentive, good at school, always did as they were told and never misbehaved. The wife he created was more ‘Stepford’ than realistic, living only to take care of her husband and children, and life in their holographic fantasy home was bliss…for the doctor any way.

When he introduced some of his real-life coworkers to his made up family, they were disturbed by what they saw! They felt that the family the doctor had made up was unrealistic, even to the point of causing them discomfort: the kids were too good, and the wife was more of a sycophantic servant than a partner. So they suggested changes to make his holographic family more like an actual family…but the results were almost as upsetting as the original too-perfect family!

The children were now unruly and undisciplined (especially the teenaged son) who took too many risks and had all the wrong friends. His wife was much more independent, but also much busier, which forced the doctor to have to contribute more time and effort to his made-up family!

The doctor was not happy with this more realistic family, and even went as far as turning off the program instead of dealing with his new reality; however, this did not last long, as his friends convinced him to face his problems and seek solutions, because by doing this he would gain a greater understanding of what it meant to be a real parent.
When the doctor restarted his program, and he faced the challenges of parenthood and marriage boldly, and while made a few mistakes and could not ‘fix’ his family, he did bring them together, and helped them to find their love for each other in the midst of a tragedy that would have torn most families apart.

This episode with the holographic family did not end on a very happy note, for if the family was left with many challenges to face, and many more obstacles to overcome before they could begin to accept the tragedy they suffered…but there was hope, and the rare acknowledgement (for a TV show) that the challenges of real life cannot always be wrapped up in 30 to 60 minutes!

Although there may be times when we wished that we had a ‘pause’ button which would allow us to put our lives as parents on hold for a time, to regroup, or even to reset the ‘program’ to something that works better for us, something not quite so stressful…but then the real world does not work that way!

In short, our lives are what they are and as followers of Christ, we are not called to be perfect parents of perfect families, because we do not live in a world of fantasy; while the holographic doctor did not like all that his ‘children’ did once they became more realistic, it was through facing the challenges of parenting, that he learned the value of the love we share with our children, and learned that the light of this love cannot be extinguished by the trials we face…especially if we face them together. So too do we love our children despite their faults, and this love enables us to face any real-life challenges together; and the good news is that we do not face these challenges alone!

It is Christ who walks with us, offering us the light of God’s love, shared with us through the Spirit and through the help of others who have faced these same challenges and understand, as well as those who may not have such experience and can offer a fresh perspective on our troubles.

Once these troubles are faced, we can move on, perhaps feeling a bit beat-up and upset, but wiser, and with a faith strengthened in the forge of life; becoming a strong tool to help us as we continue to face the challenges of our lives as single parents.

And life as a parent is full of challenges, even God knows this, as while he was the perfect son, Jesus did cause his father more than a little pain and worry…but the, we are parents and that is what we do: worry about, and love our children! Yet, despite all the challenge, the worry and the frustration of parenting, we would not really want to the pull the plug on our children and start over…because no matter who they are, or what they may have done, our love for them remains strong, and filled with the hope of Christ, our love will survive any challenge that life can put in our way! In this hope we are free to love our children just as they are!

Through Christ, we have been made a part of God’s family, loved in spite of the fact that we are not perfect, just as we love our children regardless of any of their failings (and our children love us just the same); and would be proud to tell anyone, just what God proclaimed to the world at the Transfiguration about Jesus: that this is my child, who I love very much!

Let Us Pray:

God, thank you for being proud of us, and loving us no matter who we are, or what we do. Grant us the ability to be able to forgive ourselves and those around us for not being perfect. Help us to share your love in our imperfect homes, and lives, knowing that when it is shared, this love can bring us hope and healing that brings us together in the face of all that can pull us apart. Let us remember that our love, and faith grows stronger as they are tested in the forge of real-life, allowing us to see the gift of love that you have given to us in our children…of whom we are very proud!

Amen

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