MTL Christmas - Page 85

It’s inevitable. There will be more gettogethers from now until January 2 than there have been all year long. And with that many social gatherings, there’s bound to be one less than desirable encounter. You know that awkward moment, when the tension in the room is thicker than Grandma’s mashed potatoes. Because someone has hurt you—either in the past or the present, a family member or a friend—the wound is ripped open again at the mere sight of the other person. So how do you handle the situation? Throw your hands in the air, while screaming and running in the opposite direction? Or do you simply grin and bear it? Jen Hatmaker, author of For the Love, knows the good, the bad and the ugly side of people all too well. Yet she shares how it is possible to extend forgiveness and love to those around you, especially during the holidays. “No matter what has transpired between two people, you can handle anything for a day,” Jen says. “Let’s keep some of that in perspective. We’re not talking about moving in together. We’re not talking about buying a house on the same street. We’re not talking about going in to business together. We’re talking maybe a total of six hours together.” Jen calls this getting in the right headspace. As you prepare to see that other person, remember, it will likely be over in less than 24 hours. And if not for your sake, for the sake of everyone else who will be there, you can be cordial and gracious during that time. Jen can recall times when she has been dreading something, complaining about it. But as she says, “Sometimes the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.” “In terms of the holiday gathering, most of us can pull up our big girl pants for a day. “Now that’s not to minimize difficult relationships,” she is quick to add. “I hope that doesn’t come across as trite because I know that clearly in families there are deep, deep wounds. And there are dysfunctional relationships and dysfunctional people. Some families are just plain toxic. I’m not minimizing that at all. That is a very real struggle.” Speaking from her own experience, Jen was deeply wounded and betrayed by a broken relationship. “I was so angry,” she says. “I spent so much time being angry and aggravated. I was nourishing my anger like a pet—watering it, making sure it had everything it needed to thrive.” Then she had a revelation. / MTL Magazine 85