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September 19, 1997     The Message
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September 19, 1997
 

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;eptember 19, 1997 The Message --for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 view of life from inside our house By STEPHEN BOTOS Catholic News Service All families have strengths. Every family has a story, rich and full, these strengths were used to over- s -- all the stuff life serves Don't believe for a moment that such belong to someone else. They Don't think other families possess super strength that does not reside Besides, thinking that only other fami- in family life negates the that is yours for the asking, the God grants to families so that grow and prosper in spite of adver- like the loss of a job. I know what like. "I met with the board, and we've decid- accept your resignation," I was told job quite a few years ago. "What res- I asked, feeling the heat spread my face, embarrassed, though I it was coming since the argument I the week before. And I wondered, what would I tell For me, the smallest part of job loss is The sense of diminishment is crushing. I recall that my ride home that day was from short. But Chris knew the whole as soon as I walked in the door. As r tumbled out, she held me, a safe in a proverbially heartless world. To condense this story, the months were to prove a time of miracles. strengths and love of family, of of strangers helped me to find God's plan for me was. And God plan, though it is difficult to when times are hard. I believe that our home does better at God's plan than it otherwise because of the weekly family we started in the early 1980s, meal. There have been many graced these meetings and some not graced! The biggest advantage is that meetings establish free, open corn- Rather than simply something, we suggest it and through. We've talked about feelings. When gath- "All families have strengths," notes Stephen Botos. "Every family has a story, rich and full, where these strengths were used to overcome diffi- culties -- all the stuff life serves up." -,. -- CNS photo by Mimi Forsyth ,r*; :.: er. We have an established pattern. We give each other turns. And we respect what each other says. Even my decision to accept the position I now have in Wheeling, W. Va., was made at that table. I cherish my memories of our meetings. I often run the reels of them through my head, less to recall any specific issue than for the warmth and sense of completeness they've brought. Mealtime grace is another factor of our family life. But before you say "Give me a break," listen: This developed gradual- ly, an evolutionary process that came to in the marketplace ,bI;w. do family members show that they respect each other? Y havre a mec able to dtscuss touch stuations, msues g hanism to be " .. y " " or ques- that family members feel they will be heard."  Mary Welch, Houston, "By asking each other for input about something that affects all of them as a faro- "V i of making autocratic decisions.. By being more collaborati e.  Aidan ri, Mobile, Ala. treating each other the way they themselves want to be treated." -- Mike er, Waukesha, Wis. Upcoming edition asks: Name an insight -- a truth  that the poor uniquely to others. If you would like to respond for possible publication, please write: Alive! 3211 Fourth St. N.E., Washington, D.C. 2(X)l 7-1100. be ours. We began with a candle. Everyone knew whose turn it was, for they moved around the table so that each could sit by or away  from Dad. Little hands struggled to hold the match that lit the wick We used prayer cards for a time that offered snippets of Scripture and a short reflection, often astounding in how they captured the day's problem. Then we held hands as we passed along a blessing from the day. Beautiful things came. Secrets we may otherwise have missed tumbled out. And when the blessings made the turn and came back to me, I said (and continue to say): "For all these things we thank you Lord, and invite you present to share our meal as we say: Bless us O Lord and these thy gifts..." Botos is Coordinator of Family Life, Dio- cese of Wheeling-Charleston, W. Va. Most people I know would like to see life at home improve somehow. The most tempting approach to home improvement is to ask what others should do to make life better. More difficul What can I do? Well, what can I do? Praise someone. Everyone needs praise, even someone whose good judg- ment right now appears outweighed by bad decisions. Praise a smile, an insight, a small step taken. If you sometimes can't praise specific behavior, praise the person's goodness and value in your eyes -- and God's eyes. Say no when necessary to set bounds for yourself or your home. But say no with confidence; don't shout it. Don't expect family members to be carbon copies of each other. Welcome a healthy diversity of perspectives and interests. Take steps to involve your family in service to others. Taking the focus off yourselves for awhile and placing it on others is healthy. EyeD,one grows inside by reaching out to someone. Keep things in perspective. Don't imagine that other families are perfect or that only yours experiences real problems. Express your commitment to family members in words and actions. In fam- ily life we entrust ourselves to each other. We need to be worthy of the trust. David Gibson Editor, Faith Alive!