Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: IN-LAWS (07/11/19)
- TITLE: Survival
By Rachel Burkum
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That was over twenty years ago, and the miraculous thing? We’re still close as brother and sister.
In group settings when others talk about fighting with their siblings, we look at each other and grin. Not only were we never allowed to fight while growing up, we rarely argue as adults either. Only God could have brought us through so many tumultuous years to find ourselves still loving each other like we do. We laugh, tease mercilessly, and half our conversations are movie quotes. One would never know we’d been through much.
When my brother found the woman he wanted to marry... I’ll admit, I was not happy. I didn’t agree with his decision, and quite frankly, I didn’t like her. The only redeeming factors were that she was a Christian, and my brother loved her. I couldn’t argue with either of those, although I tried. I almost blew our relationship until I realized it was not my call. I may be younger, but I’ve always had the stronger personality... a personality that has interfered a time or two. Thankfully I learned this before it was too late.
I didn’t want a sister-in-law. I didn’t want that extended family. Especially her family. Her son, who was nothing but trouble. My brother thought she and I had a ton of things in common. We didn’t. I was just good at pretending. After so many years of being so very close to my brother, it felt like I was losing him. Some of my concerns were legitimate. And some of them were born out of jealousy. I see that now.
They’ve now been happily married for a handful of years. My sister-in-law and I get along, too, for the most part. We do have a few things in common, but not much. Getting together to “hang out” is hard, but I’ve refined my people skills to the point that nobody realizes how draining it is to me.
It took a while for me to understand some of what was really going on; she was feeling left out. When the three of us get together, it always ends up two, and one. My brother and I are so close and share so many experiences and memories, that we unintentionally dominate the setting. Wisecracks are constantly tossed back and forth, many of which include inside jokes. We can quote ten different movies within one sentence, and usually my sister-in-law has never seen one of them. My brother and I talk fast and sometimes we don’t even finish a thought out loud. My sister-in-law doesn’t track quite that fast. I’ve caught her polite smiles that try to hide the sigh underneath.
Oftentimes I’ve focused on how hard my brother’s marriage has been on me. She invaded my family. She talks with my cousins more than I do. She gets word of my family’s emergencies before I even do. It’s hard not being jealous. But when I force myself to stop and think, I realize how all these things are, in reality, just her begging to be a part of my family because she loves it so much.
I have a sister-in-law. But that makes me one too. I’m still learning how to be one, and it hasn’t been easy. But I try to be Jesus. In spite of all my own hangups, I’ve come to realize that I need to be the bigger person and look at her through God’s eyes, not my own. And you know what? When I do that, the picture actually changes.
My brother and I have survived a lot... and we’ve survived this, too.
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