Several members opened up about fathers who were abusive or absent, mothers who were withdrawn or controlling. It wasn't just one or two, but almost half of the group who spoke up. And these women were far removed in years from childhood. My old idea of loss was that time would heal. Evidently it'll suppress, but heal – no.

They talked about accepting their past, but how difficult it was to move beyond it. I don't know if it was my friend, Karen, who popped into my head, but I could hear someone saying, through me, "you can accept it without embracing it." I immediately saw two of them relax and say, "Well, yes, I guess so." It was a little aha moment, where the blame and sorrow seemed to almost immediately go away, at least for the moment, and we came back to the focus of the group. I don't even know how it came to me, but I was glad I said it.

The revelations of others made me realize I have had a pretty blessed life. I've never been one to hold onto old hurts or slights, although, I might have a tendency not to want to be around the person who hurt me. "Why potentially put yourself through it again?" I always say. But accepting that things happen and forgiving isn't the same as embracing and holding onto the hurt.

What we should embrace are the positives, even of the people who might have hurt us, and the blessings we can find in everyday life. I am thankful, and embrace in my heart, the friendships I have, even if the friends are miles away. I hold them in my memory, and through the wonders of technology, I can send them an email, or write a little message on Facebook, even if I think of them late at night when a phone call would be inappropriate or un-welcome.

The holidays are upon us, and I pray for all who have had rough family situations that you can move beyond them, and build your own tradition of thankfulness and embracing the blessings in your life.


You know, I sometimes forget
that my life has been blessed.
Help me to build upon the faith
that you've grown in me,
and to use it as an example
and a testament to you.

For everything you give me,
I thank you.
Even the struggles,
which come from somewhere else,
teach me that I can overcome,
or at least
endure through it all.

-Mary Boscaino


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