Sometimes, perhaps often, when family gathers tensions build on existing underlying issues. Speaking with a friend recently I heard how one of her beloved children had turned the blast of her inner furnace toward her, causing her sadness and confusion. At a time when the two needed to be working as a team and attempting the best of support and love, just the opposite was happening. Ah, I said, have you considered that you are her safe house? The most secure place to unload and unleash? The rock…or the unshakeable tree beneath which rest is assured?
I could sense a tiny bit of relief in my friend’s voice at the reminder of her ability to embrace and weather the current struggles. Those of us willing to be vulnerable will find eventual comfort in both being and having a safe place to lay down our burdens and allow our compartmentalized hearts to open a bit. The beauty of this is that no “solutions” are required. Nothing has to be “fixed”. We simply need to listen and be listened to–accept and be accepted–love and be loved. I’m not suggesting that this is easy (I so often forget to listen with my heart), but it is a whole lot better than remaining alone in our fear and distress. We all need our safe house. If we are very blessed, we may even have two or several in our lives.