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“God please bring our family back together”

Mental Health experts have suggested that divorce feels like death and that death looks like grief. Grief with all the heaviness, loss and associated remorse that the permanence of a death brings. In an Instagram post by Kanye west the realities of loss came to a head as he captioned, “GOD PLEASE BRING OUR FAMILY BACK TOGETHER”

In that simple caption is a plea to heal and repair the places that have become ruinous in a much-publicized marriage. Ye’s caption is confessional as he seeks divine intervention to remedy the grief of loss. But while grief allows us to feel the deep disconnectedness, heaviness and pain of loss, there is another operative function of grief and that is to review and remember.

Grief allows us to interrogate the decisions and actions that have led us to the heartbreak of loss. What good is loss if it leaves you unchanged?  Kanye begins as many of us do when we have lost control, we negotiate the intervention of the divine. We want the divine to intervene and repair. To smooth it over, to magically wave it away. To make it as if it never happened. We want the divine to fix it, but somehow leave us untouched.  Emotionally, mentally, psychologically and spiritually in the same place we were found.

“God please bring our family back together”

For many brothers this is a plea to return our support system, intimate partners, safe soft spaces, but not acknowledge the disconnectedness and damage that pushed them away to begin with. We want repair but not review. We want accommodation but not accountability.  We want cure without the work of healing. But before we move towards the possibility of reconciliation, brothers let’s question the personal brokenness that breaks up our families.

Are we strangers in our own homes? Do we pay the bills? Finance the functions? Bankroll the living but not invest in the little intimacies that accommodate love and care? Are we present in the hearts of our families in ways that create strong emotional bonds? Do we know our families? I mean really know our families? What fuels them, drives them, speaks to them and heals them? —Or do we treat our families as emotional accessories? Doting on them when it is convenient for our careers and appearances? But handling them far too roughly and transferring our trauma to them. Do we know where their brokenness lives in the hearts of our partners and children? Are we familiar with the insecurities that push them away?  Or are we unfamiliar with the required care essential for health and wholeness?

Before we pray “God please bring our family back together,” brothers we need to ask ourselves are we creating responsible emotional bonds? Are we loving in such a way that we can be looked upon as dependable? Are we competent members of the household? Is our contribution reflective of sure and sound decisions? Can all those who call our domicile home, able to trust us as a safe emotional and spiritual space? Or are they waiting on you to turn sensitive divulgences into ammunition and exploit collective trust?  

Before we pray “God please bring our family back together,” let us question if we are being good stewards of our families. Family is a gift; it is not a flex. Family is not a chip of sentimentality that can be cashed in when we fail to exploit emotional levers to get what we want. The gift of family is actualized when all the members are cared for in ways that speak to their innermost selves. When watered, the family will grow. As fathers and responsible partners are we providing light for our loved ones to grow? Or are they hard pressed to grow and go around you seeking light and love from other directions? Do we till the soil? Solve problems in creative and compassionate ways? Is the home warm? Is the family safe—not from threats from without but from within? Stewardship of the family is a responsibility that belongs to us.

Before we pray “God please bring our family back together,” have we searched ourselves and done our work? Or have we left it undone, placing the work of healing ourselves and helping our home at the feet of others? Have we made our trauma their business? Are we asking God for resolution for fears we have not confessed and insecurities we have not resolved? Have we charged the divine to work before we have owned that this work belongs to us?

A difficult truth for men seeking to repair families that are broken is that we must lead with the love we desire to receive. Our wives, intimate partners and children will reproduce the love that we sow and the love that we show. If we are in search of compassion, we must sow compassion. If we are looking for gentleness, we must first give it. If we want peace, we must first produce it. Men who desire love must first be loving. 

“God please bring our family back together” is not only a call for divine intervention but personal introspection. Those who are brave enough to pray this prayer must not only wait in the anxiety of God to move, but do the deep, dark and daunting work of personal repair until the divine is done.

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