- Sit down together - share a meal. -- Valuing each other enough to share time together and to observe traditions together is important. This can provide common ground for the future.
- Acknowledge the conflict and problems, but don't dwell on them. -- Sometimes when we are gathering for a family celebration, we try to pretend that the conflicts don't exist. In stead, if we acknowledge them, some of their power is taken away, especially if we do not allow them to dominate by balancing them with other topics and interactions.
- Serve each other. -- In that upper room, Jesus washed everyone's feet and served them around the meal, whether they were in conflict or not. Such service can remind us of how we care for the other. Remembering how we are bonded together does not get us past the challenges but can provide us hope for addressing the problems that exist.
- Provide for the future. -- Memories and new traditions can help during the journey forward - both during the interim when things are worked out and over the longer haul as a new or restored relationship takes place.
You can find hope around your family conflicts and begin the journey to move beyond the conflict. It is possible to take the lessons of Maundy Thursday and begin the process of relating to each other in new ways. This strategy works by opening up the possibilities for the future while still being honest about where you find yourself and where you have been. You can try it out during this Holy Week and holiday season or whenever you are challenged by your conflicts. It is possible to use this to help you find wholeness and peace.