Courtney Arlesia

What my vacation to my parents house taught me about myself and my family

In life we will encounter things that we least expect.

Sometimes those things are undesirable and sometimes it is the things we have longed for.

Either way, it is what we need. It all depends on our perspective and how we choose to receive it.

Many of us have encountered mental, spiritual, and physical storms that have literally tore our world apart. All of us have been affected by COVID-19; having to adjust to staying at home, everything around us shutting down, and now adjusting to a new normal with stay at home orders coming to an end.

During the first five months of 2020, I’ve experienced the good and unpleasant: from experiencing wins in my career and business, to relationships ending (romantic and platonic) and new friendships beginning , to storms ripping up the communities around me, to me spending my 30th birthday in “quarantine”, and still tunneling through heartbreak and anxiety that previous years have brought me.

Each experience and encounter has been beautiful.

Beautiful does not erase the difficult moments but it gives life to the fact that each moment was necessary. Necessary for growth, for healing, and for what is to come.

In the midst of all this I managed to take a vacation. Now it was not the vacation that many of us could use right now. The one where we are on the beach, sipping rum out of a coconut, relaxing, and/or experiencing different cultures. This vacation was 45 minutes away from me to a place with people I’m around regularly. I went to my parents’ house and I treated it just like a vacation. However, what I did not know that this 3-week vacation that originally was supposed to be 2 weeks would be necessary to my healing.

Although, I talk to my family often and visit when my time allows it, this time spent with them was different. I not only was able to see them; I was able to see me.

Spending time with family for too long can become a difficult task. One of my friends said to me: “surviving family is harder than trying to survive COVID”. And there is so much truth behind that. However, we tend to dwell in the negative experiences that we’ve may have encountered with family that we forget to embrace all that is positive. While on vacation, there were many ups but not without the downs. In the downs is where I believe God showed me what I needed to see. In the difficult moments, I witnessed growth and change in a positive direction. I observed evolution in my parents individually and collectively, progression in my brother responses to situations that definitely deserved a reaction, and I always pay close attention to my nieces and nephews to allow them to teach me the things about life that I need to receive. While being involved in certain situations and observing others with each family member, I connected more and more to me. I saw my growth, areas that still need to heal, and areas that I need to release and move on from. I stopped running away when things got hard, however, there were moments when I still exerted too much energy. I laughed, I danced, and I cried tears of joy & pain.

I will not give play by play details or I will be writing a novel, so here is my biggest take away: I can protect those I love the most and still protect me. I can be unhappy, disappointed, upset, and I can still feel those feelings and express it in ways that is productive and covered with love. I do those things by forgiving the past that keeps me bound and I open my eyes to see that everyone around me is human too, with human experiences, and on their own journey. I have the right to always choose what part of their journey I want to join and what part of mine I invite them to.

If we want to break chains and cycles, we must first stop carrying the chains that have already broken. We get so caught up in what has not changed or what we want to still change that we dishonor ourselves & our loved ones by not embracing what has healed.

My prayer for us is that we acknowledge the unpleasant memories and experiences that we have encountered with family but release it to create space for cycles to come to an end. I pray that we open our eyes so that we can see that cycles are not coming to an end not because of the people around us but because of the things we refuse to let come to an end within us. I pray we stop praying for God to make all things new and experience what has already been made new. I pray we experience moments in our lives with new eyes and a new heart. May we always change what can be changed and accept what cannot.

With love,

Courtney Arlesia

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