A Letter to my Family

January 8, 2010

To my family:

Sons, Daughters, Brothers, Sister, Nieces, Nephews, Grandsons, Granddaughters, Cousins, Aunts and Uncle

First and foremost, to each of you: I love you, and value our familial and personal associations and relationships. No human being is perfect, hence there are no perfect families…but the tapestry and fabric of our family is wonderfully and uniquely woven. I am proud to be a part of it, and to be some part of YOUR life.

I have let down many of my family members throughout my years. I am also pleased to know that from time to time, I have been of some comfort, aid, support, assistance and guidance to many members of our family. But, to my shame, those times of positive interaction have been all too few. I have spent much too much time “absent” from family dealings and workings. I have ignored issues which I should have addressed. I have looked the other way sometimes when I should have become involved. I have jumped into issues, on occasion, that I should have let be; sometimes interfering when I should have not. There have been times when some of my family members have been dealt difficult hands, suffered undue hardships, fallen into sad circumstances. Those were times that I could have and should have offered assistance. Yet, far too many times, I stayed focused on my own selfish interests, convincing myself (all too frequently) that my own issues were more important, sometimes overwhelmed by my own feelings of desperation and frustration.

Shamefully, I have paid too little attention, sometimes, to my own Mother, to my spouse(s), to my siblings, to my children and to my grandchildren in times of sorrow, challenge or need.

I have been insensitive far too often, “too busy” far too many times, “too late” with too much frequency, and offering “too little” in many cases.

I could seek to blame the economy, politics, social injustice, legal complications, poor communication, misunderstanding, dire circumstances and a plethora of other “good excuses”. But the bottom line is that I have NO good reason for not being a good son, a good husband, a good father, a good brother, a good nephew, a good cousin, a good grandfather or a good neighbor. I grew up believing that I am a child of God. I also grew up believing that ALL others are sons and daughters of God. To so many I have been uncaring, insensitive, selfish, greedy, intolerant and unforgiving. And, with too many, I have failed to behave in the right, correct and good ways that I was taught by a very good father and a loving mother.

I can no longer seek to justify or rationalize any of my behaviors. Yes, I grew up with difficulties. Yes there has been a certain amount of “dysfunction” in our family. Yes I have been traumatized by some horrible and grievous episodes and chapters of my life. But so have all good men and women. Most of us, I would think, would not trade paths with Mother Teresa, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jesus of Nazareth, the Dalai Lama, Abraham or so many other leaders of our human race that faced extreme hardship yet chose to do good. My point is that we can all choose, at any point in our life, to do good (and to become a bit more devoted to doing so in the future), in spite of…or perhaps, because of, the hardships we have experienced.

Today, January 8th, I turn 59 years and 65 days old. That’s nothing extraordinary or accomplished. It is, however, the same age to which my father had arrived on the day that he died (the day after Thanksgiving, 1971). Today, and each day hereafter, I will be blessed and afforded the opportunity to have yet one more day, and another ensuing day after that, to live life and to experience the wonders and joys that are available to us in this life on this planet. Another day that was not available to my father. And so, today, I am choosing to live life more fully. I am choosing to be more like my father…committed to family, engage in honest work, sacrifice for those that I love and to be a vital or integral part of a wonderful family. I am choosing to live the type of life that my father would have loved to live had he been blessed with more time amongst us.

YOU are my family. I love you. I am certain that I have offended you in the past. I have slighted you, failed to listen to you, may have looked the other way when you have had it hard, I have spent too little time with you…but I promise, today, to do that no more. Even as I write this, recognizing that even with the best of intentions, a time will come when I may act out of ignorance or fail to act because I do not have knowledge of a circumstance or a feeling. Please, always feel free to let me know if I can help, if I can offer any comfort or aid, if I can be of service to you and to your loved ones. I am in debt to my parents, to my grandparents, to my aunts and uncles. I am in debt to you. To best repay that debt to those have gone on before us, is to be of service to their descendents, to their loves ones, to their family…to our family.

I love you. We are family. Families are forever.

Steven Edward Lindsey

Hubert Hefley Lindsey’s and Dorothy LaVerne Miller’s son

William Jasper Lindsey’s and Martha Emma Christina Lucinda Mull’s grandson

Wade Hampton Miller’s and Willie Gertrude Arrington’s grandson

Your brother, or your father, or your cousin, or your uncle, or your nephew, or your grandfather, or your brother-in-law, or your father-in-law…and, always, your friend.

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