I love the television show Heroes on NBC. My wife and I got addicted to the program via Netflix and have made it appointment viewing ever since. Lately, the show, which began with straightforward characters and easily understandable models of nobility, has become more complicated.
Noah, a father, has been divorced by his wife. She has taken up with another man. Noah invites his daughter, his ex-wife and her boyfriend, and a near flame from his previous job to his apartment, for Thanksgiving. When his daughter questions the arrangement, Noah brushes it off by saying, “We’re a complex, modern family and we just have to deal with it.”
Predictably, the Thanksgiving meal doesn’t go very smoothly. Attempting to save the situation, the ex-wife’s boyfriends suggests they all go around the table saying what they are thankful for.
The suggestion prompted me to think. What am I thankful for? I knew the answer immediately. I’m thankful my parents grew up in a smaller town society that made divorce unthinkable. I’m thankful they never put me through the pain of trying to learn to accept “Mom’s boyfriend” or “Dad’s new, young wife.”
My folks fought quite a bit when I was a kid. But they always worked it out. And now, after more than four decades of marriage, they are closer than ever. I can see it. And even at age 39, well beyond the time when I need them to take care of me, I am immensely grateful that they are there for me together. I am so grateful to have a place to go home to where I can rediscover the family where I grew up and where I can take my children so they can experience uncomplicated grandparents still in their original pairing.
This is not intended as a slam on anyone. I know our culture has changed and that the family has indeed become quite a bit more flexible. It is hard to blame anyone when the ambient culture says it is okay and that you should abandon commitments that just don’t seem to be working.
But what I do hope to do is to inspire readers who have yet to be married or who are married to hold tight to the commitments they make. When you form a family, form it on a strong foundation. Give your children or your children yet to come the same blessing I have enjoyed. My mother and father are together. They have been for my entire life. It is immensely comforting. And I am thankful for it.